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Children’s Mental Health Week 1st – 7th February 2021

Children’s Mental Health Week 1st – 7th February 2021

Children’s Mental Health Week 1st – 7th February 2021

As we approach Children’s Mental Health Week, it is more relevant this year than ever before that we give this topic our attention. Whilst almost all of us will be feeling the strains of the pandemic in one way or another, our children have had their entire world turned upside down. Due to the school closures many of them have lost their daily routines, purpose and social contact. Some of our children will also have suffered bereavement, increased levels of domestic abuse, or watched their parents struggle to make ends meet following redundancy or increasing levels of poverty.

It is therefore important that all of us take time to consider whether our children, or those we know, need additional support during these difficult times. We need to be watchful for warning signs such as difficulty sleeping, reduced levels of confidence, separation anxiety, sadness, changes in eating patterns and behavioural problems.

For those children who are already have disabilities or special educational needs many of the difficulties experienced by all children can be further exacerbated, and it can be difficult to know where to turn during the pandemic for support with schools closed and our health system over stretched.

If you are concerned about your child it is important to take advice from our usual support services such as our GP and Children’s Social Care. If your child does need further support it may be that a school place can be made available for them as a ‘vulnerable child’ even if this is for a few days a week.

Below is a list of resources that may be helpful;

  • MindEd, a free educational resource from Health Education England on children and young people’s mental health
  • Rise Above, which aims to build resilience and support good mental health in young people aged 10 to 16
  • Every Mind Matters, which includes an online tool and email journey to support everyone to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing
  • Child Bereavement UK (0800 028 8840) and the Childhood Bereavement Network, provide information and resources to support bereaved pupils, schools and staff

Free confidential support can be accessed anytime from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations by:

  • texting SHOUT to 85258
  • calling Childline on 0800 1111
  • calling the Mix on 0808 808 4994
  • Online information on COVID-19 and mental health is available on the Young Minds website
  • the Think Ninja (freely available and adapted for COVID-19) app educates 10-18 year olds about mental health, emotional well-being and provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well 24/7
  • Barnardo’s See, Hear, Respond service, provides support to children, young people and their families who aren’t currently seeing a social worker or other agency, and who are struggling to cope with the emotional impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). You can access this via the ‘See, Hear, Respond’ service self-referral webpage or Freephone 0800 151 7015.

The  Government has advice specifically aimed at helping children address wellbeing arising from issues related to Covid-19 may also be of assistance.

If you would like further information about the issues discussed here please contact Vicky Preece of our Children Team at vicky.preece@ibblaw.co.uk