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Back to school blues? Mental health support is available

As children and young people are preparing to go back to school health organisations across Sefton are reminding residents that mental health support is available. Parents, carers, and guardians are being urged to be alert to signs that children could be experiencing anxiety, distress, or low mood as pupils head back to the classroom after months away.

 Dr Susan Gough, mental health lead for NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “It is more important than ever to look out for our children and young people and to help them access the support they need. We know it is not easy to talk about mental health, we would really like to encourage young people to have open conversations about their wellbeing, and to reach out for help if they need it.”

Signs that parents should look out for include:

  • You might find they are more upset or find it hard to manage their emotions
  • They may appear anxious or distressed
  • Increasing trouble with sleeping and eating
  • Appearing low in mood, withdrawn or tearful
  • Reporting worried or negative thoughts about themselves or their future
  • For younger children, there may be more bedwetting.

“If you’re worried about how your child is coping, trust your instinct and reach out for help you can talk to your GP, your child’s school or NHS mental health services.”

This week, The Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has launched a mental health campaign. Using the hashtag #WellnessWednesday, the trust will share and promote information about local services and resources for children and young people on social media. The trust also has a webpage which hosts useful videos, including hints and tips to help children and parents dealing with anxiety about going back to school.

 Margaret Jones, director of public health for Sefton Council, said: “We’d like to reassure parents and pupils that they can get back to school safely and protective measures are in place. Your child’s school or college will be able to give you more information about the specific measures they have put in place, but the government has also released information and practical guidance to support parents, carers and students returning to school or college.”

 Dr Hilal Mulla, mental health lead for NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“As many children start to return to school, it’s vital we continue to give them the support they need to maintain their mental health and wellbeing and deal with any feelings of uncertainty or worry they may be experiencing.

“The NHS offers a large amount of mental health support for children and young people, and if a child needs urgent mental health support or advice, check the NHS website for services in your area, including 24/7 crisis support.

“Parents should contact NHS 111 online or a GP immediately if they notice any physical injuries on a child, such as deep cuts or burns.”

Local mental health and wellbeing support and helplines available:

·       Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – there are a number of local mental health support and advice services available to young people and their families at this time. For more information and to find your local service visit: South Sefton CCG CAMHS or Southport and Formby CCG CAMHS

·       Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust 24/7 CAMHS Crisis Care Team – if a child or young person requires urgent mental health support the team can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0151 293 3577 or free phone on 0808 196 3550.

  • Kooth – This free online service for young people aged 11 to 18 years offers self-help materials and a safe online community 365 days a year.

National helplines and support available:

  • Childlinecall 0800 1111
  • The Samaritanscall 116 123
  • YoungMindsCrisis Messenger: text YM to 85258
  • Papyrus Hopeline UKsuicide prevention helpline: call 0800 068 4141 or text 07860 039967
  • The Mix a support service for young people. You can talk to with the online community, on social, or through the confidential helpline or our counselling service. Call 0808 808 4994 (Sunday to Friday, 2pm to 11pm)
  • If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight, every day).

Useful links for children and young people’s mental health:

·       For information about the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Back to School Resources, visit: https://covid19.alderhey.nhs.uk/back-to-school-resources-for-parents-and-children/

·       To view the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health Help video series, visit: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4zniovSeRnCh_aHl7C7U_8lc7vjphc

Children’s return to school is safe says Sefton’s Director of Public Health

“It is safe for children to return to school,” was the key message from Margaret Jones, Sefton’s Director of Public Health when we spoke to her about pupils returning to schools this week.

Not being at school, she said, is harmful for children’s overall well-being.

We asked Margaret about the measures being put in place for the new term to help maintain social distancing and reduce contact. These include reduced class sizes and ‘bubbles’, staggered start finishes and break times.

Margaret also stressed the ongoing need for thorough hand-washing and the importance of people showing COVID-19 symptoms – a raised temperature, new persistent cough or a loss of their sense of taste or smell – isolating and getting a test.

Here’s our interview with Margaret.

Joint plea to public to continue to be sensible and respectful at Sefton’s beauty spots

A number of organisations across Sefton are joining forces to remind people to continue to be sensible and respectful if they choose to spend time outdoors during the warm weather.

The agencies who make up the Sefton Coastal Landscape Partnership include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, British Transport Police, HM Coastguard, National Trust Formby, Natural England, the RNLI and other key partners.

Today (04 August) the partnership launches a campaign covering many of the issues faced on the Sefton coast.

Since restrictions were lifted allowing people to spend more time outside, we have seen a rise in the number of people using local beaches, parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve and many of Sefton’s beautiful beaches.

The advice remains that everyone should maintain social distancing at all times.

People also should check in advance of visiting places like National Parks and beaches to make sure they are prepared for visitors.

We are also asking people to remain respectful and protect our public spaces.

During the recent nice weather, the partnership has received reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

Mark Shaw from Sefton Council’s Green Sefton service said:

“Our beaches are tempting but they are not able to cope with high level of visitors at the moment.

“For those few who do visit our coastline at this time, they are advised that stringent parking restrictions are in place, all rubbish must be taken home and BBQs are strictly prohibited along the entirety of the Sefton coastline.

“At this time, we need people to think about their safety and the safety of others, as well as the wellbeing of our communities and Council staff.”

Sefton Chief Inspector Mike O’Malley from Merseyside Police said:

“We continue to work closely alongside our partners to deal with all issues on Sefton’s beautiful coastlines, and this August – with many choosing to holiday in this country due to travel restrictions – will be no different. We want all visitors to enjoy a safe, relaxing and enjoyable time, and show consideration for those who live in these areas.

“During spells of good weather this year we have had reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

“Anyone acting antisocially should expect to be dealt with by police in a robust manner, and we will also support other agencies in their work.

“I want to reassure those affected by anti-social behaviour, underage drinking and other issues affecting the communities of Sefton that we will again make a co-ordinated effort to prevent such incidents from occurring.

“Throughout August, officers will be on foot, in vehicles and on quad bikes across the Sefton coastline including Formby, Ainsdale and Crosby beaches, as well as parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve.”

PC David Baier from British Transport Police said:

“Everyone wants to enjoy this gorgeous weather and may head to the coast but it’s really important that people continue to social distance and wear compulsory face coverings when using public transport.

“These may be strange times, but the same rules apply regarding anti-social behaviour – we won’t tolerate any abuse of passengers or rail staff and we’ll continue to take a robust approach to anyone who breaks the rules.”

ENDS

Pupil tested positive for COVID19 at Maricourt High School in Maghull

Responding to a pupil being tested positive for COVID-19 at Maricourt High School in Maghull, a Sefton Council spokesperson said:

“We are aware of the situation at Maricourt High School in Maghull, where a pupil has tested positive for COVID 19.

“The child had not showed any symptoms of Coronavirus, but following National Guidance, had taken a test immediately after being informed that a family member had tested positive.  The child stayed off school while awaiting the results and has been off since.

“The pupil was part of a small cohort of key workers’ children attending school, all following strict social distancing rules, meaning the possibility of further infection is limited. However, following a risk assessment, a number of close contacts were identified and advised to self-isolate at home, even if they have no symptoms, to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.  They have been informed of signs and symptoms and how to obtain a test should they become symptomatic.

“The school is currently in contact with the local Public Health team, Public Health England and the Infection Prevention Control team, who have advised on what health and safety measures need to be taken and on a cleaning regime which is currently underway.

“We commend the school for following the correct protocol and guidance which has meant that we can take swift and appropriate action to protect children and families.

“The school has been advised to take appropriate public health measures to ensure it is safe for other pupils and staff to attend as normal. However, if anyone does develop symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate straight away.”

Young people in Sefton tell decision makers about their lives during COVID-19

Young people from Sefton came together with key decision makers in the first ever virtual SYMBOL meeting which involved 50 participants.

Being a member of SYMBOL (Sefton Youth Making Better Opportunities with Leaders) means a young person plays an active role in their community, with a direct line of communication with leaders such as councillors and senior managers at Sefton Council, and also with partners including representatives from Public Health.

At the meeting young people talked about their experiences and some of the issues that they faced during the Coronavirus pandemic. This included feelings of isolation, worries about falling back on school work, being able to adapt when returning to school and concerns about family members and how the pandemic is affecting relatives.

As part of the discussions participants also took part in a survey which gave an overall view of how the group had been coping during the lockdown, what positives could be taken out of the experience and what support is needed.

Jo Lee, Sefton Young Advisors Team Lead and SYMBOL Coordinator said;

 “Although lockdown restrictions meant joining in person was not possible, it was still so important, now more than ever that the meeting went ahead in order to understand what impact the Coronavirus pandemic is having on young people and to listen to their views about how it is affecting their lives.

“With a survey telling us that 75% of the young people in our meeting alone, feel that COVID has had a negative impact on their mental health, it is important that we listen to the challenges they are facing, so we have a better understanding of how we can support them.

“It’s also really encouraging to listen to the positives young people are taking from this experience including improvements to the environment and learning new hobbies”

If you or anyone you know would like any support or advice during this time, please visit our website where there is guidance for children and young people on how to maintain good health and wellbeing.

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