This week children and young people will return to school and college as set out in the Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown in England.
This might be an emotional and stressful time for them, and also for parents/ carers and families. Listed below are some simple hints and tips to make life a little easier, and if you do need any support or help there details of a range of services and organisations available in Sefton.
Online support for children and young people
Kooth provides online support form children and young people in Sefton aged 10-25 years old. The site is staffed by fully trained and qualified counsellors and is available until 10pm each night, 365 days per year. It is free, safe, confidential and provides a non-stigmatising way for young people to receive counselling, advice and support on-line. www.kooth.com
Local Support for children and young people – please note hours or services may vary
Parenting 2000 provides emotional and practical support and guidance for children and young people and families. Activities are delivered across Sefton from Parenting 2000’s two centres, from community venues, including a GP’s surgery, schools, HM Prisons and remotely via online platforms.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org , telephone: 01704 380047/07464 5444314
Venus – is an organisation for women, families, children and young people and homeless people with multiple and complex needs. We offer support, advice, information and activities. Contact Details: Tel: 0151 474 4744
Advice for Parents/Carers
The Anna Freud Centre recommends:
- Be there to listen – Regularly ask how they’re doing so they get used to talking about their feelings and know there’s always someone to listen if they want it. Find out how to create a space where they will open up. How to start a conversation with your child
- Support them through difficulties – Pay attention to their emotions and behaviour, and try to help them work through difficulties. It’s not always easy when faced with challenging behaviour, but try to help them understand what they’re feeling and why. Help with difficult behaviour and emotions
- Stay involved in their life – Show interest in their life and the things important to them. It not only helps them value who they are but also makes it easier for you to spot problems and support them.
- Encourage their interests – Being active or creative, learning new things and being a part of a team help connect us with others and are important ways we can all help our mental health. Support and encourage them to explore their interests, whatever they are.
- Take what they say seriously – Listening to and valuing what they say, without judging their feelings, in turn, makes them feel valued. Consider how to help them process and work through their emotions more constructively. The Anna Freud Centre support guide
- Build positive routines – We know it still may not be easy, but try to reintroduce structure around regular routines, healthy eating and exercise. A good night’s sleep is also really important – try to get them back into routines that fit with school or college. Sleep tips for children
Support for Parents/Carers
YoungMinds have a Parents Helpline accessible via the phone, email or webchat for free, confidential advice.
Every Mind Matters – NHS Advice about mental health and emotional wellbeing. Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. We have expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.
Living Well Sefton – is a FREE service supporting people with issues that may be affecting their health and wellbeing. Healthy eating, stop smoking, weight management mental health, physical activity, alcohol As part of the service, there are a number of Living Well Mentors to talk to and they work with you on a one-to-one basis to identify health areas to see where small tweaks can be made but may have a big impact on improving your health. Contact – 0300 323 0181 – LWS@seftoncvs.org.uk
Reach Mens Centre – Based in South Sefton they provide a range of services aimed at reducing social isolation and improving the mental health of men in the area. We run a drop-in service where men can meet, play pool, dart etc. and gain skills through various courses. They can also get support through our one to one counselling service or support groups.
Samaritans offer support round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call on 116 123. This number is FREE to call to receive support.
Sean’s Place is a Mental Health and Wellbeing centre providing free mental health and wellbeing support to men in Sefton/Liverpool.
Swan Women’s Centre – Supporting women to achieve mental well-being and providing services for women who experience anxiety, depression, stress or mental health issues. Phone: 0151 933 3292 Email: email@example.com
Top tips to help families
The Ann Freud Centre suggests:
- Families play a hugely important part in supporting each other at times of uncertainty or concern. Be alert to how each other is feeling. You might show your worry in different ways to one another – so, if one of you is not feeling worried right now, that’s fine too. With changes to daily and weekly routines, keep sight of what family life feels like and what you can continue to do. These can be the things which make life feel ‘normal’, so they’re important.
- Children’s emotions, including anxiety, are well regulated by the structure in their lives. Try and create consistency, even in unpredictable circumstances. With young children (aged 3-7), playing together may be your best way of identifying what their concerns are. Often, what they play is what they are thinking about. You could introduce a playful element into these discussions, and making other children (or even pets) the focus may make it easier for your child to share what worries them.
- With older children, openly talking may help bring worries to the surface. Worries are important to label and, where possible, to normalise. Sharing your own worries may be helpful, as long as you are also clear about how you manage your feelings. For example, if distracting yourself helps you, then it is also likely to help your child. But be aware that something you find distracting (e.g. reading) may not be so helpful to them.
- Living with anxiety over a period of time can impact on the wellbeing of us all. Explore ways in which you – as individuals but also as a family group – can take care of yourselves. Think about what you have as self-care strategies, and how you can use these. Obvious examples are taking exercise, watching a film, listening to music, and enjoying a meal together. But also remember the ones which are special to you as a family.
- Take advantage of being together, but also make sure you have time of your own. Maintaining our routines, so the world has its familiar things as well as its uncertainties right now, feels helpful to us all.