MENTAL health is becoming an increasing problem for children in the UK.

Freedom of Information requests by the BBC found that referrals to child mental health units from UK primary schools for pupils aged 11 and under have risen by nearly 50 per cent in three years.

The figures show a rise from 21,125 to 31,531, while many have been on a waiting list for mental health support for more than a year.

It’s no secret that mental health services as a whole are underfunded, and while the government has promised to address this, words have thus far failed to transfer to meaningful action.

That’s why two child/parent coaches and mums from the Tyne Valley have decided to launch a new mental health campaign.

Leanne MacDonald and Julie Brown have teamed up to create Mental Health Rocks, which is designed to promote wellbeing, resilience, and raise awareness of mental health for children in primary and middle schools.

Leanne explained the thought process behind the idea. “Julie and I both go into schools and work with children to raise awareness of mental health.

“We wanted to get more schools involved and be more impactful, so we came up with the idea of doing a nationwide mental health awareness campaign.

“We wanted to have a fun, interactive experience for the children, but also invite parents and teachers so everybody can have a better understanding of their wellbeing.”

Leanne and Julie have both undergone a variety of training courses in different types of therapy.

The pair are currently finalising funding from local businesses and intend to launch their workshops in September, with the aim of getting their message across to as many schools is possible.

The workshops focus on the idea that a poor state of mental health is not permanent.

Julie explained: “When we say mental health it comes with negative connotations.

“We really need and are determined to change that. We want to change the understanding of mental health.

“Mental health is something people always have. It’s like physical health – you can have a cold and be unwell, but still have your physical health.

“There’s a lot of programmes in schools that are fun and are engaging, but sometimes they don’t leave the children knowing they have innate mental health.

“They’re not broken – they don’t need fixing. They’re just human, having a human experience.

“There’s been a lot of research done in the US and the UK into this.

Leanne added: “When I was 13 I found my emotions overwhelming. I was put on anti-depressants, but looking back I just didn’t understand my emotions were temporary. Had I had this information, I wouldn’t have felt so scared.”

The pair certainly have high aims – they want every primary and middle school in the UK to take part and host a My Mental Health Rocks workshop for all pupils.

They are encouraging parents to get involved by sharing the information with their child’s school and other parents.

Furthermore, they are actively looking for sponsorship so the workshops can be delivered for free. Further information can be found on their Facebook page.

Julie added: “Anything that’s ever been done that’s been life changing and country changing has taken people, it’s taken somebody to take a stand.

“We can moan, or we can get up and do something.”