It is always important to talk about mental health and ensure that resources are available to help people who are struggling. This week, schools, colleges, charities, and mental health organisations come together to mark Children’s Mental Health Week from February 1 to February 7.
We know that the pandemic and the associated measures and restrictions, such as social distancing and school closures, will be impacting on the mental wellbeing of some children and young people.
Below, we have put together some useful links and sources of support so that children, parents, carers, and school and college staff can get the advice and help they need. We have also added a new module to the RSHE curriculum for primary and secondary schools specifically designed to focus on mental health. This important addition will enable much-needed conversations about mental health to happen inside the classroom.
The list below is not exhaustive, and many other useful organisations and services exist, but it is hoped that these will help children, young people and adults navigate the key resources and get the support they deserve.
Seeking specialist support for children and young people
Local children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMHS) are continuing to operate and in many cases are providing support remotely. Children and young people or their parents or carers can also contact their GP or refer to NHS 111 online. Local CYPMH services will also have information on access on their websites: many offer self-referral or single points of access.
NHS trusts have established 24-hour urgent mental health helplines in most parts of England for people of all ages. If you have urgent concerns about a child or young person, you can find your local helpline here to discuss these with a mental health professional.
And remember to refer to your local children’s services if you have any safeguarding concerns.
General information relevant to children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health
These resources are dedicated to children’s general mental health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on mindfulness with developing coping skills in young people.
- Place2Be has a host of mental health resources available. They organise Children's Mental Health Week every year.
- SafeSpot is an iPhone and Android app that promotes positive mental wellbeing in children and young people and has been designed to help children and young people with their coping skills.
- MindEd’s advice and resources for families on supporting children’s mental health. This includes the Education Hub (which hosts a short Wellbeing for Education Return training webinar for education staff as well as more in-depth content covering wellbeing and resilience, bereavement and loss, stress, trauma, anxiety and low mood) and the Coronavirus Staff Resilience Hub.
- BBC’s wellbeing resources for families.
- Young Minds: a letter about how I’m feeling: worksheet to help pupils express their feelings and understand what may have triggered them. For use with pupils in school or at home.
- Mentally Healthy Schools: tools to support an emotional check-in with pupils.
- Mentally Healthy Schools: an anxiety thermometer as a wellbeing measurement tool.
- Mental Health at Work: Supporting Educators' Mental Health including during the pandemic. Round-the-clock one-to-one support by call or text from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health.
- NHS: Mental Health Helplines for Urgent Help - NHS 24-hour advice and support for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for. Help is available to speak to a mental health professional.
- NHS IAPT: free online NHS adult psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), for common problems involving stress, anxiety and depression. IAPT services can be accessed either through a self-referral by contacting your Local IAPT or via your GP.
- Cruse Bereavement Care: Coronavirus, Bereavement and Grief online information, advice and support. Helpline: 0808 808 1677
- MindEd: Coronavirus Staff Resilience Hub for frontline staff
- Headspace: Headspace for Educators offers educators access to free mindfulness and meditation exercises and resources for every age group, and a free Headspace Meditation App.
- Centre for Mental Health: Supporting Mental Health during Covid-19: a brief guide
- Public Health England Every Mind Matters: Looking After Your Mental Health Resources aims to support everyone to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by promoting a range of self-care actions.
- Public Health England: Every Mind Matters Self-Care Tool when you complete the 5 ‘Survey’ questions, a ‘Mind Plan’ is generated, with signposting options to many useful resources.
- Young Minds: 10 Wellbeing Tips for School Staff
- Anna Freud: self-care strategies for young people feeling low or anxious and self-care tips for parents and carers.
Covid-19 specific children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health support
For young people who feel particularly overwhelmed and troubled by Covid-19, these resources are helpful ways to manage anxiety around the pandemic, with helpful tools on homeschooling and self-care during lockdown.
- A downloadable guide from the Children’s Commissioner for children and young people about the coronavirus, including proactive advice to support mental wellbeing.
- The Think Ninja app educates 10–18-year-olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well. It has been adapted to Covid-19 to bring self-help knowledge and skills to those who may be experiencing increased anxiety and stress during the crisis.
- The Rise Above website aims to build resilience and support good mental health in young people aged 10 to 16. The content has been adapted to Covid-19 and includes new mental health content based on insights from young people on remote schooling.
- The Every Mind Matters website aims to support everyone, including children and young people, to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by promoting a range of self-care actions. It has been adapted to include advice and support about mental health issues that may have arisen because of the pandemic.
- The Young Minds website – provides online information on COVID-19 and mental health support to children and young people.
Mental health support for parents, carers, and school or college staff
Keeping in mind that parents, carers and school staff can often be impacted by children’s mental health, we have provided some select resources that can help adults better support children, and also find the help that they themselves might need.
- Public Health England advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Online wellbeing resources for home education - a list of mental wellbeing resources designed to provide guidance on how to support the wellbeing of children and young people being educated remotely.
- Mentally Healthy Schools: a range of free coronavirus and mental health toolkits with useful resources and guidance to support school staff, parents and carers through the challenges they face as a result of the pandemic. This includes:
- Resources for managing anxiety and improving wellbeing
- Dealing with the effects of lockdown
- Resources for building resilience
- Anna Freud: top tips to help families work together and support one another during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Barnardo’s See, hear, respond hub: information for parents and carers to help with some of the challenges the pandemic has presented.
- SecEd Headteacher Update: Best Practice Guide (2020) Focusing on Staff Wellbeing Post-lockdown and During the Full Return to School
- Family Links: Mental and Emotional Health in Schools: effective strategies and support for schools as they respond to the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on the whole learning community: Free Online Course.
- Teacher Magazine: Teacher Wellbeing During COVID-19
- TES: Coronavirus and Schools: LIVE 11/11 : A one-stop shop for teachers who want to know what impact the ongoing pandemic will have on their working lives.
- National Education Union: Coronavirus: What You Need to Know - Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing
- TES SEN Show: Supporting the Emotional and Mental Health of the Education Workforce free webinar. Suitable for all Key Stages.
- Schools’ Wellbeing Partnership: Mental health and wellbeing in primary schools –Preparing for Recovery: Self-review and Signposting Tool.
- Teacher Magazine Podcast: The Research Files Episode 62: Teacher Adaptability
Workplace / organisational approaches to mental health and wellbeing
- Business in the Community: COVID-19: Employee Health and Wellbeing Toolkit
- Workplace Health Needs Assessment Tool: and resource provides practical advice for employers on workplace health and a tool for carrying out workplace health needs assessments.
- Developing and Evaluating Workplace Health Interventions toolkit provides guidance for employers to develop their offer of workplace health interventions.
- Public Health England x Business in the Community Toolkit: Public Health England in collaboration with Business in the Community has developed a suite of Interconnected toolkits that take a whole person, whole system approach and have mental health as a common theme throughout. These toolkits consolidate the very best evidence, with the very best employer practice to improve workplace health, aligned with freely available resources that are useful to all employers, wherever they are on their journey.
- Mental Health at Work: Resources, Toolkits and Case Studies. Supporting Staff Wellbeing in Schools with a rich repository of information and easily accessible resources including videos and posters.
Issue and group specific children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing support
Sometimes, children need specific and targeted resources to help with problems they are facing. Below we have outlined some support available for particular issues, including loneliness, suicide prevention, eating disorders and domestic abuse.
- The SEND Gateway is a good source of information for professionals, containing resources on responding appropriately to children and young people with SEND with emotional wellbeing needs.
- DfE have published factsheets for care leavers, setting out the support they can access during Covid-19, including one on their wellbeing and where to access support for their mental health.
- Resources from University of Bath and the ‘Tell Me about Loneliness’ project provide advice and tips about how to tackle loneliness and are thoroughly rooted in evidence of young people's experiences during loneliness.
- The Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign – the website provides a whole host of resources and information for those feeling lonely, including blogs and podcasts from those who have experienced loneliness.
Bullying, harassment, and abuse
- The government tool Respectful school communities: a tool to support school staff to combat bullying, harassment and abuse of any kind.
- Childhood Bereavement Network has a range of resources to help schools to respond to a bereavement and to provide support to bereaved pupils and their families. It also includes signposting to local bereavement services.
- University of Oxford guide for parents and carers on supporting their child or young person in dealing with self-harm.
- BEAT advice and support on eating problems and disorders:
- Helpline: 0808 801 0677
- Youthline: 0808 801 0711
- Studentline: 0808 801 0811
- The Sanctuary chat room for people with an eating disorder, created specifically in response to coronavirus.
- Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide) provides confidential advice and support for young people who feel suicidal:
- HOPEline UK: 0800 068 41 41
- Text: 07786 209 697
- Samaritans is a national organisation for anyone in distress and in need of immediate support:
- Tel: 0116 123
- Email: email@example.com
- UK Trauma Council resources on coronavirus and trauma
- Operation Encompass Teachers' Helpline staffed by educational psychologists, to support staff working with children and young people at risk of or experiencing domestic abuse (0204 513 9990, weekdays during term-time, 8-11am).
- Children and young people can access free confidential support 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