Emotional Wellbeing- Children
Helpline for Mental Health in Suffolk and Norfolk
Freephone: 0808 196 3494
The 24/7 helpline offers immediate support for mental health difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic and will be open to anyone of any age in Norfolk or Suffolk regardless of whether or not they are an existing NSFT service user. First Response is a 24/7 helpline staffed by mental health professionals from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). It will provide reassurance, self-help advice, support and signposting. The line will also be open to other healthcare professionals such as GPs, ambulance and social care staff who need to make referrals or seek advice when working with people undergoing mental health difficulties. First Response will be available on 0808 196 3494. Callers will hear a recorded message instructing them to press either 1 or 2, depending on whether they are a professional or member of the public, and will then be connected to a mental health practitioner.
For more information, visit www.nsft.uk/helpline
Update of resources to support the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people in Suffolk
Coronavirus: supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing
Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
If the current news on coronavirus (COVID-19) is making you feel anxious, concerned or stressed, Young Minds have produced a Blog to help you deal with some of your feelings.https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/
Children may respond to stress in different ways such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting etc.
Respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention.
Children need adults’ love and attention during difficult times. Give them extra time and attention.
Remember to listen to your children, speak kindly and reassure them.
If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax.
Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.
Provide facts about what has happened, explain what is going on now and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand depending on their age.
This also includes providing information about what could happen in a reassuring way (e.g. a family member and/or the child may start not feeling well and may have to go to the hospital for some time so doctors can help them feel better).
If you’re a practitioner try and keep children close to their parents and family and avoid separating children and their caregivers to the extent possible. If separation occurs (e.g. hospitalisation) ensure regular contact (e.g. via phone) and reassurance.
Information, guidance and support for parents and carers of children who are learning at home.
Coping strategies during School Closures:
Even when children are not in school there are benefits to having them stick to a similar school routine. Regularity in routine allows children to know what to expect on a day-to-day basis and encourages them to feel a sense of continuity, stability and security. Following a similar routine and structure to school will allow children to differentiate from a normal school holiday and ease the transition back to school.
Your child not being at school does not mean that the school structure cannot be used to plan out the day, in fact it would be empowering for your child to help you make a timetable for the week.
Generally, schools have different topics on different days. So, where possible, this lesson structure should be stuck to. Keeping to the school structure reduces the possibility of stress and anxiety for both parent and child. Everyone knows what comes next, there is indication of transitions, and children feel confident because they are familiar with the structure.
Exercise and sport
Just because there is structure there should also be ample time for creativity and play. This breaks up the day but also gives you a chance to have some fun.
Exercise and sport should be a part of each day. The benefits of exercise are multiple: enhancing the emotional, physical, mental, intellectual and social well-being of children.
Taking regular breaks are really important for both children and parents to relax and have fun. Using the home activities like laundry etc could be part of the physical activity.
It is likely that schools will send home some homework, check with your child’s school as they may have organised virtual lessons or have a list of websites and books you can use. Also be sure to check that these are being done as this encourages future self-discipline.
Most children will be familiar with using: mobile phones, iPads, or the TV, for social media use; including talking to friends, gaming or general entertainment. This is fine in small measures, however, there is increasing evidence indicating that excessive technology can have an adverse impact on young people’s and children’s well-being and cognitive development. Parents may need to monitor their children’s use of technology a little more.
Guidance for Parents and Carers to Help Support Children and Young People's Mental Health and Well-Being
This advice is to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities, during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Dealing with the Death of a loved one during the Coronavirus Pandemic
People who have experienced the death of someone close often describe experiencing difficult or challenging feelings and thoughts, the social distancing measures required due to Covid-19 may also result in additional feelings and thoughts. The British Psychological Society have put together this guide to help you to Support Yourself and Others through this traumatic time.