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Wellbeing support

Parents and carers

You don’t have to be self-isolating for coronavirus concerns to have an impact on your mental health. You might find yourself feeling worried about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on you and your loved ones. These feelings are normal and it’s important we acknowledge them and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health.

There are steps you can take to look after your mental health and wellbeing. Several organisations have published guidance on mental health considerations relating to the coronavirus outbreak, including:

Children and young people

Children see and hear things, and children talk. Across the country, children will be sharing stories and rumours about the Coronavirus, picking up on adult anxiety, and, in some cases, carrying a growing anxiety of their own.

For some children, especially those who have experienced loss or trauma, and those whose anxiety baseline levels are set high, concerns about the Coronavirus may erupt into anxiety-fuelled behaviour at home or school.

What might anxiety look like in children?

Physical signs: children may complain of headaches or stomach aches, appear restless, fidgety and distracted, or find their muscles tense up.

Emotional signs: look out for children appearing particularly sensitive or crying a lot, becoming grumpy or angry without any obvious reason, or withdrawing and becoming less responsive. 

Behavioural signs: children sometimes ask a lot of questions because they are curious or excited, but it can also be a sign of anxiety; be aware of children appearing pre-occupied, having ‘meltdowns’, or exhibiting self-soothing or even self-harming behaviours.

How can I help to reduce anxiety?

There are several things that you can do to calm children generally but be aware that children who are already highly anxious, or who are care-experienced or have special educational needs may need extra support. It is wise to discuss the your plans for supporting children with school, so children can be prepared and supported at home as well as at school.

  1. Be aware of children discussing the situation amongst themselves, and be prepared to step in to correct any misinformation. Rumours spread like wildfire among children, and they may not be able to sort the truth from the stories. If possible, find out what the children think they know, and then be prepared to correct their information if necessary.
  2. Be honest about what is happening. Brushing off and dismissing children’s fears does not reduce their anxiety. Ensure you present information in an ageappropriate way, but be honest about the essential facts
  3. Help to maximise children’s feelings of safety by explaining what the health service and the school is doing to protect them, and give them a sense of control by showing them what they can do to protect themselves. Reassure the children that the risk to them is currently low, but that they can protect themselves by washing their hands regularly, and that doctors and hospitals know what to do if someone becomes unwell. Take time to teach children good hand-washing technique. Remain calm and give out information in a matter of fact way. Children need to see that the adults are calm and in control of the situation.

These resources are aimed at helping children understand the virus and to manage anxiety around what is happening. 

Childline provides a range of online tools that young people might find helpful

Self-help and emergency situations

Whether you're concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines and support groups can offer expert advice.

Anxiety UK
Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm)
View their website

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35. Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
View their website

0800 1111
calls are free or children can get support online

Men's Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
View their website

Mental Health Foundation
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
View their website

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
View their website

OCD Action
OCD Action Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources. Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider's Access Charge.
View their website

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
View their website

Young Minds
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals. Phone: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
View their website

Advice on dealing with domestic violence. Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)
View their website

Cruse Bereavement Care
Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
View their website

Charity working with people with a learning disability, their families and carers. Phone: 0808 808 1111 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
View their website

Family Lives
Advice on all aspects of parenting, including dealing with bullying.
Phone: 0808 800 2222 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 3pm)
View their website 

The UK's largest provider of relationship support
View their website

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