Voting is Open to Elect Leeds Children’s Mayor

Leeds Living received a request from one of the twelve candidates for Leeds Children’s Mayor:

Hello, my name is Jessica Ward and I have heard about your magazine. I am one of the 12 finalists in a children’s election, the election for the next Leeds Children’s Mayor. I have written an article about 2 of my ideas. If you could consider putting it in, I would be extremely grateful.

Leeds Children’s Mayor is a great way for children to get involved with what happens in our City and the voting is open until 25th September for all Leeds residents aged 5 to 18.  All the finalists’ manifestos can be read here – there are some fabulous ideas.

The link enables you to cast your vote, and also gives you an insight into what each candidate is proposing. We agree with Jessica – there are some fabulous ideas. If you are one of the other candidates and want to add your own views, just email [email protected]

Improving Children’s Mental Health

50% of all mental health issues start by the age of 14, which means children are particularly exposed to issues that could affect the rest of their lives. At worst this could lead to suicide later in life, maybe while they are still children. Suicide is the worst-case scenario, but sometimes children may hurt themselves, physically or mentally. At first, I was shocked to see such statistics, being a school child myself, but then I realised something: this had to change immediately. I, in fact, have a mild case of anxiety, and know how hard it can be at times; this was my inspiration. In this article, I will share a few of my ideas on how we can improve the support struggling children receive.

One of my ideas is that every school should have a therapist. Why? If children were to hurt themselves in school, they would go see a first aider, but what if their injury isn’t physical? What if their injury is a mental injury, maybe their feelings were hurt or they’re experiencing an anxiety attack? Talking to staff and friends can help, don’t get me wrong, but a therapist has been trained professionally for years and years and years. Let’s put that knowledge to use!

The final idea I’m going to share today is something more reserved people will prefer. It can be hard to talk, so I believe there should be a child specific website full of tips and tricks to help children deal with their problem. A website would be accessible and more comfortable for certain children who are more of an introvert. There could be a message board where fellow children with mental health issues could share little tips, and other kids who have recovered from them could post ideas, too. This could spark hope, that one day they will recover.

These ideas are part of my manifesto, as I am one of the final 12 candidates for Leeds Children’s Mayor. All my ideas are aimed at children, and all are focused on one goal – to improve the mental wellbeing of children. Please consider voting for me so my visions can become a reality. To vote use the link below. Thank you for reading my article.

Jessica Ward 2023.