‘The winter is going to hit our children’s mental health hard’

In the week leading up to BBC Children in Need’s live show on Friday 13 November, schools will be provided with video content, activities and advice for each theme, from Wicks and experts like Dr Radha Modgil, a GP and mental health specialist.  

“The kids will be taught about things like journaling, a bit of breathing, meditation and being able to communicate how they’re feeling rather than bottling things up,” says Joe, who tells me he does guided meditation most days with the Headspace app.

“When I was growing up, people never spoke to their kids about this stuff, but I think it’s a really nice concept. And after what some of them have suffered in lockdown they need it more than ever,” he adds.

Research by BBC Children in Need recently found that 94 per cent of children and young people have felt sad or anxious since the UK went into lockdown and 45 per cent of families surveyed said their children seem more worried or anxious than they did pre-pandemic.

Joe says that while his own children are very young – daughter Indie is two and son Marley turns one in December – along with his wife Rosie they try to keep them emotionally as well as physically healthy: “We get out in nature every day, whether it’s a walk around our village, a long bike ride, or a little bug hunt in the back garden. Not just for exercise, but to clear their heads,” says Wicks. “We make sure we have phone-free family time every day, where we’re not distracted, and Indie tried Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube the other day. As they grow up I want them to have an emotional vocabulary so they know it’s OK to talk freely about their feelings. Keeping kids mentally fit is as important as keeping them physically fit – this year more than ever.”

On Friday November 13 you can watch Joe’s 24-hour workout live on the Red Button and BBC iPlayer



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