Six months of uncertainty and upheaval has affected their mental health and wellbeing.
Recent survey data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that one of the biggest Covid worrries for parents is the mental wellbeing of their children.
After an abrupt end to school and college in March, summer exams cancelled and the GCSE and A Level results controversy in August, many are wanting to start afresh this academic year. Others are struggling with the return.
All education settings have had to make big changes. Coupled with uncertainty over what the next few months will bring, children and young people have had mixed feelings about going back.
This includes facing the challenges of catching up with missed education, starting new schools or colleges and building relationships with friends again.
Tips and advice for parents
New advice on the Public Health England/NHS Every Mind Matters Website has been developed in partnership with leading children and young people’s mental health charities.
It is designed to help parents and carers spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health and support them.
Top 5 Tips
- Be there to listen - Ask the children and young people you look after how they are doing regularly so they get used to speaking about their feelings.
- Stay involved in their life - Show interest in their life and the things that are important to them.
- Support positive routines - Be a positive role model and support positive behaviours including regular bedtime routines, healthy eating and getting active.
- Encourage their interests - Being active, creative, learning things and being a part of a team are all good for mental health. Support children and young people to explore their interests.
- Take what they say seriously - Help the children and young people you look after feel valued in what they say and help them work through difficult emotions.
Teenagers are also currently coping with Covid outbreaks, self-isolation and other restrictions at over 40 universities – on top of the move away from home.
Psychiatrists Professor Neil Greenberg and Dr Nihara Krause have advice for students to get through coronavirus at uni.
Their top tips include:
- Keep connected with friends
- Limit alcohol
- Don’t binge on box-sets
- Get a good routine going
- Don’t sleep all day and stay up worrying all night
Local and national resources and support
Note that face to face services, hubs and groups have had to be suspended and many organisations have had to limit what they can offer.
Chat Health text service
Confidential health advice for 11-19s in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.Topics have ranged from relationships and self harm to bullying, healthy eating, drugs and alcohol.
It's run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme and is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm.
07480 635 443 to start a conversation.
Currently offering phone and video call support for young people from 13-25 in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Young person's helpline is open 12-5pm, Monday to Friday and Saturdays 10am to 1 pm. The rest of the time messages and emails will be picked up once a day during the week and someone will get back to you within 48 hours.
Text/WhatApps: 07514 783745
Chums Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Service
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough services offer support to children and young people up to the age of 25 with mild to moderate mental health difficulties such as anxiety and low mood as well as those with significant emotional wellbeing difficulties arising from life events, such as bereavement and bullying.
0330 0581 659
Keep Your Head
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough website offering emotional and mental health information and resources for children and young people.
Counselling and support
Online wellbeing support and chat-based counselling for anyone aged 18+ from via Qwell, part of CPSL Mind's Good Life Service.
Free, anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform. Open12pm-10pm Monday to Friday and 6pm-10pm Saturday and Sunday.
Mental health and wellbeing helpline for people aged 18+ and living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 11am - 11pm Monday to Friday and 2pm - 11pm Saturday and Sunday.
Freephone 0808 808 2121. The line will support people to manage their wellbeing, provide self-help advice or signpost to other organisations for particular concerns.
Weekends, 9am-midnight. You can’t join the queue for a 1-2-1 chat after 10pm and you won’t be able to call or send a message to Childline after 11.30pm.
Call free on 0800 1111
Young person in a crisis?
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.
text YM to 85258
The UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
Call 116 123
First Response Service
Call 111 – and choose option 2 to talk to specially-trained mental health staff if you are worried about a young person harming themselves or feel they are at serious risk. The service is for anyone, of any age, who is registered with a GP in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough.
Share your experiences
How have the changes to services due to the coronavirus pandemic affected you?
We can share what you tell us with the people who are planning the local and national response to coronavirus.
This will help them protect people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Call 0330 355 1285
Text 0752 0635 176