Children’s Mental Health Week runs from 5 to 11 February. Organised by Place2Be, this year’s theme is 𝘔𝘺 𝘝𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

The campaign aims to empower children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves. Feeling empowered can contribute positively to our self-esteem, sense of community, and well-being.

Play is crucial for children’s healthy development and happiness and is vital for their mental health and well-being. Life can present many challenges and it is through talking, listening, interacting and playing that children learn to deal with these situations and develop coping skills. Read more in our Play Matters information sheet.

Play is a participative process: play empowers children and provides social tools to participate in decision-making. Play is how children learn about the world, about themselves and each other, and give meaning to the things that happen in their lives. Play offers children choice, control and freedom.

Our Play Your Part project supports youth groups to embed a culture of effective participation and practice with children aged four to eight years. Ensuring the views, opinions and voices of children are heard within youth settings results in meaningful participation, helping to develop children and young people’s capabilities and contributing towards the development of a high-quality service for young people.

Find out more and view resources to help youth workers explore participation within a youth work setting.

PlayBoard offers training on children’s participation to all practitioners who work with children and young people – get in touch by emailing to discuss your needs.

During the pandemic, PlayBoard, in partnership with Ulster University, conducted research to capture the voices of children and young people. Our report entitled Our Voices Matter, shared the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on children and young people’s play, their mental health, and their education.

With the effects of the restrictions continuing to be felt, it is imperative we take steps to build a society that recognises the critical importance of play in children and young people’s lives, and on their development.

The resumption of locally accountable government offers a significant opportunity for improving the lives of children and young people through the development and delivery of a Play Strategy for Northern Ireland. We look forward to engaging with local political representatives to make this a reality for our children and young people.

Read Our Voices Matter Summary report and recommendations.

Read our statements calling for a Play Strategy and Childcare Strategy.

Read our young researchers report on The Right to Play – an investigation into what can help and hinder play, aimed at governments, parents, and those who with children.

Watch as teachers and childcare practitioners discuss the benefits of play for children’s mental health and well-being, and hear from the children themselves.

For Children’s Mental Health Week resources go to