This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Service Lead for Early Years and Prevention, Michael Jarrett on behalf of the DfE's Mental Health Regional Implementation Lead, Nicholas Budge. This is for the attention of the All Education Professionals.
Mental Health Support Available for Children and Young People in England
Children and young people may be experiencing a variety of feelings in response to the COVID-19 outbreak such as anxiety, stress or low mood. It is important to understand that these are normal responses to an abnormal situation. There is a large amount of mental health support available for children and young people, detailed in the table below.
NHS mental health services are still operating, and schools should still refer to their local NHS children and young people’s mental health service.
In relation to children and young people’s mental health, schools may find the following webpages useful:
- MindEd - This is a free educational resource for frontline staff from Health Education England on children and young people's mental health. Now includes a Coronavirus Staff Resilience Hub with materials on peer support, for managers and senior leaders, on stress and fear and trauma and bereavement. Pre-existing, bitesize content includes death and loss (for parents and carers with Easy Read PDF); loss and grief (for professionals including teachers); and trauma and coping (for parents and carers with Easy Read PDF)
- Good Thinking digital mental wellbeing resource for London, which breaks down advice for children and young people by specific groups
- Rise Above for Schools - a free website for teachers which hosts a range of mental health lesson plans suitable for Year 6, KS3 & KS4. Content is written by teachers and is accredited by the PSHE Association.
- Anna Freud Centre, particularly Mentally Healthy Schools resources and their Schools in Mind network on supporting young people’s mental health during periods of disruption.
- Place 2 Be on improving children’s mental health.
- The Childhood Bereavement Network includes content specific to COVID-19. The organisation also has a hub for professionals supporting bereaved children, with membership currently free until September.
- Local NHS mental health crisis support lines (for all ages) can be found via a simple age and postcode search here.
Schools May Also Wish to Signpost the Following Resources to Parents and Carers:
- The Government’s online educational resources for home education with a section on mental wellbeing.
- PHE’s guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
- Virtual Oak National Academy for reception – Year 10 pupils, which offers daily online lessons, a weekly assembly with a pastoral focus and extra-curricular activities to help families maintain a routine at home (NB. intended to complement, not replace, existing schools’ online learning offers)
- BBC Education online learning content, also for reception to Year 10 pupils, to support home learning, with weekly wellbeing tips provided via their social media pages.
- The Think Ninja app has been made freely available to young people aged 10-18 across the UK and updated with specific mental health and wellbeing content related to the pandemic.
- Rise Above is a website co-created and produced by young people to help build resilience and support good mental health in those aged 10 to 16. The content has been adapted to the pandemic and includes new mental health content based on insights from young people who are learning from home.
- Every Mind Matters 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. It also includes a section for parents and carers on looking after children and young people during the pandemic.
- Children and young people who are caring for someone with a mental illness can self-refer to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme using this link if they are having issues shopping for food or picking up prescriptions.
- Children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from voluntary and community sector organisations by texting SHOUT to 85258, calling Childline on 0800 1111 or the Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website. For support with an eating disorder, children and young people can ring Beat’s Youthline on 0808 801 0711.
- Local mental health crisis support lines (for all ages) can be found via a simple age and postcode search here.
Additional Advice and Support for Schools and Colleges:
- Guidance for schools around remote education. Information, guidance and support is also available for parents/carers of children who are learning at home.
- The latest guidance from the department to support schools around reopening is available here. This is in addition to a planning guide for primary schools to support them as pupils return.
- The Government’s guidance for schools and colleges on keeping children and young people safe during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.