Mental Health There are times when we all feel the strain. As parents and carers, there are ways we can support children and young people to give them the best chance to stay mentally healthy. Some children and young people have enjoyed being off school, while others will have really struggled – with the coronavirus outbreak keeping them at home and away from friends. Others may be coming to terms with family problems, loss or changes to their living situation. With nationwide and local restrictions being regularly reviewed, they may also have to deal with self-isolating because of an outbreak in school or another period of school closure, or have worries about getting or passing on the virus. It's still uncertain what further changes we all may face. Feelings like these will gradually ease for most, but there are always steps you can take to support them emotionally and help them cope with problems they face. There's support available if you feel you or they need it. We believe that children should not have to face mental health problems alone. Here are some ways you can help. 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. 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. 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 in a more constructive way. 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. 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. 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. Signs that something is wrong Around 1 in 8 children and young people experience behavioural or emotional problems growing up. For some, these will resolve with time, while others will need professional support. It can be difficult to know if there is something upsetting a child or young person, but there are ways to spot when something's wrong. Look out for: significant changes in behaviour ongoing difficulty sleeping withdrawing from social situations not wanting to do things they usually like self-harm or neglecting themselves Remember, everyone feels low, angry or anxious at times. But when these changes last for a long time or are significantly affecting them, it might be time to get professional help. You know your child better than anyone so, if you're worried, first think if there has been a significant, lasting change in their behaviour. This could be at home, school ; with others or on their own; or in relation to specific events or changes in their life. If you're concerned or unsure, there is lots of support out there so please get in touch. As parents and carers, you play an important role in your child’s mental health. Check out our resources below or contact your child’s Head of Year, Pastoral Manager or school Senco. Please see updated contact details in our SEND information report.
Best wishes to all of our pupils and families and the wider community at this extremely challenging time.
Stay in, stay safe, God bless.