Health & Well-being
Resources to support Parents and Carers with their children’s Mental Health
It is always important to think about your own and your children’s mental health and well being. Please find below a range of online resources that can support you with this.
Helping children and young people cope with stress
There are some key points you can consider about how to support your child or young person, including:
Listen and acknowledge: Children and young people may respond to stress in different ways. Signs may be emotional (for example, they may be upset, distressed, anxious, angry or agitated), behavioural (for example, they may become more clingy or more withdrawn, or they may wet the bed), or physical (for example, they may experience stomach aches). Look out for any changes in their behaviour. Children and young people may feel less anxious if they are able to express and communicate their feelings in a safe and supportive environment. Children and young people who communicate differently to their peers may rely on you to interpret their feelings. Listen to them, acknowledge their concern and give them extra love and attention if they need it.
MindEd is a free online educational resource on children and young people’s mental health for all adults, which can support parents and carers through these exceptional circumstances. Please click on the MindEd logo for further information.
Be aware of your own reactions: Remember that children and young people often take their emotional cues from the important adults in their lives, so how you respond to the situation is very important. It is important to manage your own emotions and remain calm, listen to and acknowledge children and young people’s concerns, speak kindly to them, and answer any questions they have honestly.
Connect regularly: If it is necessary for you and your children to be in different locations to normal (for example, due to staying at home in different locations or hospitalisation) make sure you still have regular and frequent contact via the phone or video calls with them. Try to help your child understand what arrangements are being made for them and why in simple terms. Support safe ways for children and young people to maintain social interaction with their friends, for example via phone or video calls.
Create a new routine: Life is changing for all of us for a while. Routine gives children and young people an increased feeling of safety in the context of uncertainty, so think about how to develop a new routine, especially if they are not at school
Limit exposure to media and talk more about what they have seen and heard: Like adults, children and young people may become more distressed if they see repeated coverage about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the media. A complete news blackout is also rarely helpful as they are likely to find out from other sources, such as online or through friends. Try to avoid turning the television off or closing web pages when children or young people come into the room. This can peak their interest to find out what is happening and their imagination can take over. Instead, consider limiting the amount of exposure you and your family have to media coverage
Government guidance on supporting children and young people’s health and well-being
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is affecting everyone’s daily lives. Regardless of their age, this may be a difficult time for children and young people. Some may react right away, while others may show signs of difficulty later on. How a child or young person reacts can vary according to their age, how they understand information and communicate, their previous experiences, and how they typically cope with stress. Negative reactions may include worrying thoughts about their health or that of family and friends, fear, avoidance, problems sleeping, or physical symptoms such as stomach-ache. During this time, it’s important that we all take care of our own and family’s mental health. Public Health England have produced some guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
Please click on the image on the right for government guidance on supporting children and young people during the pandemic.
Place2Be: Improving children’s mental health
A comprehensive guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing
Rise: Mental Health Support
The RISE team works with young people in schools across Newcastle and Gateshead to help support their emotional and mental wellbeing. School is full of positive and negative experiences. School life can be especially difficult when people experience added pressures, whether school related or in their personal life. All young people from across Newcastle and Gateshead are eligible for help and support from the RISE team. The website includes a list of links to online resources, including mental health support and advice to support parents, carers and children cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resources for children
The Children’s Commissioner
There have been big changes in our lives because of coronavirus, so the children’s commissioner has created a children’s guide to coronavirus to help explain the situation.
The guide aims to answer children’s questions about coronavirus, tell children how to stay safe and protect other people and how to help them make the best of their time at home.
Early Years and Key Stage 1 (Nursery, Reception, Y1 & Y2)
MindHeart Co: Story Book for Under 7’s on COVID-19
This short free to download online book, is designed to support and reassure children, under the age of 7, about COVID-19. This book is an invitation for families to discuss the full range of emotions arising from the pandemic. The story book is available in a wide range of languages.
Key Stage Two (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6)
Recovery College Online – Coping During the Pandemic
The Recovery College online from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, has produced a free course for children aged 7-12 as a way of learning about the global COVID-19 pandemic. The course helps children to learn about the new virus, how to stay healthy and do their best not to pass it on, how they might feel about it, things to do at home and how they can help themselves. The course is free to access for everyone.
Resources for Adults
Mental Health Foundation: Looking after your own mental health
The Mental Health Foundation’s website provides easy to read top tips and practical suggestions about how adults can manage their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly useful for those working from home, self-isolating or shielding.
Every Mind Matters : NHS Mental Health Support
As well as thinking about the children or young people in your care, it is important to take care of your own mental health and wellbeing. Children and young people react, in part, to what they see from the adults around them. When parents and carers deal with a situation calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children and young people.
Gateshead City Council: Covid 19 Support
Gateshead Council have created a dedicated web page which offers advice and support on a range of topics including support for households, support for businesses and support for workers.
Gateshead Council Guidance: Healthy Meals and Money Management
As many families are facing higher food bills, and in many cases, reduced income due to the impact of coronavirus the Public Health team of Gateshead City Council have produced what support is available for people to access if they need financial help during the coronavirus pandemic
If you are in need of further support for the mental health of yourself or a family member, the following contact details may be useful:
Samaritans provide confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
You can call the Samaritans on: 116 123 (freephone, landlines and mobile)
Young Minds are leading the movement to make sure every young person gets the mental health support they need, when they need it, no matter what.
It takes courage to ask for help. But for many young people who do, the support they need just isn’t there.
In the UK today, an estimated five children in every classroom has a mental health problem.
We provide young people with tools to look after their mental health. We empower adults to be the best support they can be to the young people in their lives. And we give young people the space and confidence to get their voices heard and change the world we live in.
Together, we can create a world where no young person feels alone with their mental health.
Recognising the signs that a child may be struggling with their mental health can be really hard. If you’re worried a child may be struggling with their mental health or has anxiety about coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve got advice to help you support them and there are things you can do to help. And if they’re struggling with their mental health, we have advice to help you support them and keep them safe.
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment. And there won’t always be answers to the questions your children are asking. But we can help you have these conversations in a safe and open way.