In 2020, we experienced something we never thought we would: a global pandemic. This pandemic has continued for far longer than any of us could have imagined and, by the looks of things, will be continuing for the foreseeable future. Now, more than ever, is a time for us all to not only look out for ourselves, but each other too.
Over the course of several lockdowns, general mental wellbeing has been a key focus for individuals, teachers, parents and caregivers alike when it comes to the children in their care. We know how important it is that children have the right support available to them and know exactly where to go, should they have any concerns about their own mental health.
It is for this reason that we have collected together some of the best mental health online resources for children and where they can learn a little about what mental health actually means to them.
How has COVID-19 affected children and their mental health?
YoungMinds conducted research toward the end of last year that suggested that over 32 percent of young people who had a history of mental health problems felt as though the pandemic had negatively affected their mental health drastically. This research also suggested that over half of the young people in the study said it worsened their mental health.
The pandemic hasn’t only led to a rise in agoraphobia cases, but general health anxiety too. Mind, a UK leading mental health charity has stated that they have seen an influx of people contacting them regarding COVID-19 and the effects that lockdown is having on their mental health. Along with this, the charity Beating Eating Disorders has seen over a 30 percent increase in the amount of people ringing their helpline services.
The Policy and Research Manager at the Children’s Society, Richard Crellin has stated that young people with or without mental health conditions are finding the COVID-19 pandemic to be extremely triggering. He stated that they are constantly exposed to scary statistics on the television and across the internet, which is one of the reasons they may be feeling that increased level of anxiety. So – what does this mean for parents and carers and what do you do if you’re worried about your child’s mental health?
Resources to help your child if they are struggling with their mental health
We have become increasingly reliant on technology – especially in recent years due to the pandemic. We have learnt that almost anything can be transferred online: from our social lives to online grocery shopping.
Although some people find this prospect a scary one, it has bought a lot of benefits too and mental health resources online for children and young people is one of them. If your child or foster child had no previous evidence of a mental health condition, but is beginning to show signs of one, there are a few places you can look for online resources to help them out:
Mind are the UKs leading mental health charity. They provide advice, support and aim to empower people who have or are experiencing difficulties with their mental health. Mind run a Infoline, offering information and advice on mental health which can be reached via phone (0300 123 3393), text (86463) or email ([email protected]).
Along with this, Mind have created a page dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic and what that might mean for mental health. This includes information for children and young adults who are worried about the pandemics effect on their mental health.
The Children’s Society
Working towards improving the lives of vulnerable children and young people, The Children’s Society have put together a variety of resources online that could help during these troubling times.
The Children’s Society know how important it is to support young people through this mental health crisis and have created a COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing hub on their website. Their dedicated info and support page also offers help on subjects such as loneliness.
Another leading mental health charities that are fighting for children and young people’s mental health is YoungMinds. YoungMinds offers a Parent Helpline that you can reach on 0808 802 5544.
Along with direct help for parents and carers, a child can also visit the website for advice and information on looking after their mental health and selfcare tips to stay on top of it.
YoungMinds also have a blog where young people help to contribute to and read about other people’s experiences.
Emerging Minds are a network dedicated to reducing the mental health crisis in children and young people. They have useful advice for parents and carers on supporting children who may be worrying about the pandemic, or children who have become more distressed since COVID-19 has been around.
Parents and carers can also access webinars that focus on supporting children and young people throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Unfortunately, many children have already been experiencing mental health conditions before the pandemic hit and need further help now, more than ever. The main thing to know, when dealing with a child who has existing mental health issues, is that all emotions are valid. No two people are going to experience mental health issues in the same way and some people might feel emotions more intensely than others.
The main thing to know is that support is there if you or the child in question needs it. The NHS mental health directory is full of helplines, websites and information. Alternatively, if you need serious help, always call 999 in an emergency.
Unfortunately, children in foster care are experiencing an even higher rate of mental health issues. For this reason, we are looking to find more incredible people to help foster vulnerable children in need of a home. You can request a digital brochure today if you think you might be right for the role. If you have any questions regarding fostering, please call us on 0800 566 8317 and we would be happy to answer them for you.