The following information has been collated by BCHFT CAMHS and aims to help parents and carers talk about COVID-19 with their children. Supporting information and educational resources for parents and carers are also available (for Primary / Secondary school students) further down this page.
We are living in times of uncertainty and massive change with the current health pandemic, so here is some information and some tips which may help during this time.
We hope you stay well and safe, if you have any questions for your clinician regarding any changes to your care please call our single point of access number to discuss these: 01902 444021 (Wolverhampton) or 0121 612 6620 (Sandwell) – Sandwell BEAM can also be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org a trained worker from Sandwell BEAM will respond to emails from a young person or their family.
A comprehensive list of mental health helplines can be found on the NHS website for adults and children
There are many apps available for both IOS and Android platforms to help mental health.
Urgent Mental Health Crisis Support
For urgent mental health crisis support, please see the below information for crisis support:
If you or a young person’s a person’s mental or emotional state gets worse quickly, it may become a mental health crisis. In this situation, it is important to get help quickly.
You can do one of these things:
If you are known to the Crisis Team, ring the Crisis Mobile to speak to someone (8am-8pm)
If you are not known to CAMHS, you can contact your GP for an emergency appointment
If you do not feel safe in yourself, or you don’t feel that you can keep a young person safe, call 999 and/or go to A&E
If someone is at immediate risk of danger
It is important to keep yourself and others safe.
Call 999 and explain the situation, someone trained to help will talk you through this
Are you worried that someone is being hurt?
It is important to let trained people from Children’s Services know about any worries you may have so that they can support you and others involved. You may wish to have someone help you with this or ring the helplines below.
Wolverhampton – call 01902 555392 or 552999 – or follow this guide
Sandwell – call 0121 5693100 – or follow this guide
Support for families following fatal domestic abuse
The AAFDA (Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse) charity is there to help families who have lost a relative through fatal domestic abuse. The charity also supports professionals by raising awareness and offering training. The AAFDA can be contacted via email email@example.com for families needing support.
The latest Sandwell Carers Newsletter can be found here. The news letter contains updates and information in relation to useful services available during the Pandemic.
Supporting Children and Young People to Understand COVID-19
Supporting Children and Young People to understand COVID-19 by World Health Organisation (WHO)
Children and young people are hearing a lot about COVID-19 and normal life will be disrupted over the next few months for all of us. The extensive media coverage provides helpful information, but this can also be overwhelming, and it is natural that children and young people may worry about themselves, family members and friends.
Parents and other family members can be a great help when children and young people become anxious, and there are some reliable resources which can support adults in providing this help.
Good information is key, and avoiding scare stories on social media is really important at this time.
This disruption to our normal lives also provides children and young people with an opportunity to help other people in their community, which may distract them from worrying about themselves. We can hope that some good will come out of these challenging times.
The following is provided by the World Health organisation:
Help children find positive ways to express disturbing feelings such as fear and sadness. Every child has his/her own way to express emotions. Sometimes engaging in a creative activity, such as playing and drawing can facilitate this process. Children feel relieved if they can express and communicate their disturbing feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
Ensure that during periods of separation, regular contact with parents/ caregivers and friends is maintained, for parents/carers this could include for example twice-daily scheduled phone or video calls or other age-appropriate communication (e.g. social media depending on the age of the child).
Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible, especially if children are confined to home. Provide engaging age appropriate activities for children. As much as possible, encourage children to continue to play and socialize with others, even if only within the family when advised to restrict social contract.
During times of stress and crisis, it is common for children to seek more attachment and be more demanding of parents. Discuss the COVID-19 with your children in an honest and age-appropriate manner, we have included some resources here to help you if you are struggling with how to describe COVID-19 to your children. If your children have concerns, addressing those together may ease their anxiety. Children will observe adults’ behaviours and emotions for cues on how to manage their own emotions during difficult times.
Some things you could look at together with your child
This is an age appropriate news source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51204456
This clip is called: “Advice if you’re upset by the news”. It will help children to know that their feelings are a natural response to the unusual situation https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/13865002
Other sources of information for children on helping children understand COVID-19 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPsY-jLqaXM
This short clip gives advice on worries related to COVID-19 https://youtu.be/ME5IZn4-BAk
A short book to help explain COVID-19 and discuss emotions https://www.mindheart.co/descargables
A short book for children to explain COVID-19 Dave the Dog is worried about Coronavirus – A Nurse Dotty Book
A poem for younger children to help them understand changes relating to COVID-19 https://youtu.be/n0B24RGom-w
RCPch (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) has some information and resources available for parents and children. These can be accessed on their website here https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-resources-parents-carers?utm_source=Royal%20College%20Of%20Paediatrics%20and%20Child%20Health&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=11491789_RCPCH%20Engagement%20Collaborative%20April%202020&dm_i=12S1,6UB4D,UDMSY9,RFCVP,1
Five Steps to Wellbeing
Sandwell Support Services have published ‘Five Steps to Wellbeing’ – a helpful resource for connecting for wellbeing, being active, learning, taking notice and giving. You can watch the video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lppF7nL21EI&feature=youtu.be
Some advice to help explain and talk to your child about COVID-19 Talking to your child about COVID-19
How to talk to your child about coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-talk-your-child-about-coronaviruscovid-19
This clip discusses parents and carers looking after their mental health and ideas to reduce worry in children https://youtu.be/ZnANLAcpRZ4
Information about managing children and young people’s anxiety
Supporting children and young people with existing mental health difficulties
Some children and young people may already have difficulties with their mental health and are already receiving treatment from services.
They may become extremely anxious about COVID-19 and may develop new or more severe anxiety symptoms e.g. feel the need to wash their hands compulsively, struggle to get to sleep or experience panic symptoms.
It is really important that they are helped to use any coping strategies they may have already developed through work with counsellors, clinicians or others who support them like relaxation exercises, distraction or use of a worry box etc.
If they are taking prescribed medicine, it is important that they continue to take this regularly as prescribed and that repeat prescriptions are arranged well in advance.
If they are attending Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) or another support service, the clinicians or professionals they see may arrange to speak to them over the telephone or through a secure conference call instead of bringing them into clinics.
If their usual clinician is on leave or is deployed to another service, there may be arrangements for cover from other people in the service.
Parents or carers who are worried about their child’s mental health should contact their clinic directly for advice, rather than presenting with their child to an A and E department.
Many organisations are developing information and resources specifically for people who are living with specific mental illnesses.
For example Beat, the eating disorder charity have a page on Covid-19 https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/coronavirus and are also running a new support group “The Sanctuary” every day to support those with eating disorders.
Action for Happiness put together monthly calendars with daily actions in support of ‘Keep calm, stay wise, be kind’. You can access their monthly calendars here – Action for Happiness
Action for Happiness also have a specific calendar for coping with the global crisis – giving a helpful tip each day to help in the current situation. The Coping Calendar can be found here: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/coping-calendar
PAPYRUS, the charity for prevention of young suicide has published a 30 days self care calendar which can be found here: https://papyrus-uk.org/30-days-of-self-care/
MIND have published the following tips for self care:
Resources for Anxiety
Supporting children and young people with autism, neurodevelopmental disorders and/or learning disability
Some children or young people will find the raised anxiety levels at home, school or in their community hard to manage and if schools are closed, this will place particular pressure on their families.
It is important that they are given clear information about COVID-19 in an accessible way which emphasises that although any of us may become ill, they are not expected to become very sick and they might not even notice that they have the infection.
Parents and carers will know best what helps their children when they are worried and trying to keep them busy and active as much as possible is best.
Learning Disability England have lots of information and resources listed on their website for support https://www.learningdisabilityengland.org.uk/what-we-do/keeping-informed-and-in-touch-during-coronavirus/
Easy read information about COVID 19:
Hand washing tips for people with sensory difficulties
Supporting children and young people who are looked after
Children and young people who are looked after may be facing particular difficulties.
It is important that any decisions which are made relating to a child or young persons support, placement or circumstances, are explained to them clearly and the rationale set out.
“COVID-19” alone cannot be used as an explanation for a change in arrangements; detail around why should be provided (for example, if their usual social worker or support worker has to work elsewhere, or is absent, or if family contact arrangements change).
Stability and continuity in arrangements should be the priority, where safe and possible, but where this is not possible time should be taken to calmly explain why.
Supporting Children and Young People Who Don’t Feel Safe At Home
Children and young people and their families who are experiencing abuse may be affected by the impact of COVID19.
Self-isolation will impact on the accessibility of local support services and could increase the risk of harm in the home.
Making people aware that national helplines are still in operation and that children can access these, is very important.
ChildLine is a free, private and confidential service where children and young people can talk about anything. Help is available by telephone on 0800 1111 or online at: https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/contacting-childline
In cases of domestic abuse, organisations should seek to support the nonabusing parent as best they can in order to keep children safe.
The Hide Out (an online space created by Women’s Aid), helps children and young people understand domestic abuse, and how to take action if it’s happening to them. https://thehideout.org.uk
Those experiencing an abusive relationship, and friends, relatives and professionals supporting anyone in these circumstances, can download the Bright Sky app to Android and Apple mobile phones. It provides information on support and includes a journal which can safely store incidents of abuse recorded. The app is available in English, Urdu, Punjabi and Polish https://www.hestia.org/brightsky
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is available 24/7 on 0800 027 1234. Webchat is available at www.sdafmh.org.uk and support can be accessed via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For advice, professionals can call Scottish Women’s Aid on 0131 226 6606, https://womensaid.scot/
The Haven is a registered charity based in Wolverhampton, supporting women and dependant children who are vulnerable to domestic abuse, homelessness and abuse. Details on support during COVID-19 are provided on their website: https://www.havenrefuge.org.uk/ and also on their advert which can be viewed here:
West Midlands Police offer support for domestic abuse – their campaign #NoExcuseForAbuse and information can be accessed here: https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/noexcuseforabusedl/
Looking After The Adults
This is a difficult time for everyone, and we all need to look after ourselves and each other.
Accessing trustworthy sources of information is important in understanding what actions you can take to protect yourself and others.
For parents and carers, it will also allow you to confidently share accurate information with your child.
Taking steps to look after your mental health are good for you, your family and those you look after. Taking time out from work and the media coverage will be a positive way to manage anxiety. Getting outdoors into green spaces is a therapeutic for people of all ages.
Mind Over Natter
CAMHS staff have recorded a Podcast for Mind Over Natter. In this episode, we are joined by Nicky Mountford and Jay Eeles from our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.
Recorded during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week – this episode discusses supporting parents to support their children’s mental health, with a particular focus on lockdown and the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
There is lots of hints and tips including:
How important sleep is and how to improve sleeping patterns
How to spot the signs that your child might need some mental health support
How to lessen the impact of social media
You can access our podcast here https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/mind-over-natter/id1549487739?i=1000507705705
Support for Parents/Carers
For help with Food: Black Country Foodbank 01384 671 250
Information for families: 0121 569 4914 (Sandwell) 01902 554242 (Wolverhampton)
Drug and Alcohol information: 0121 553 133 (Sandwell) 0300 200 2400 (Wolverhampton)
Domestic Violence: 0121 553 0090 (Sandwell) 01902 904677 (Wolverhampton)
Adult Social Care: 0121 569 5789 (Sandwell) 01902 551199 (Wolverhampton)
Age UK: 0800 169 6565
Mind: 0300 1233 393
For parents if you are really struggling and don’t feel that you can keep yourselves safe and are struggling with your mental health you can contact a local Mental Health Crisis Team – : 0121 543 4100 (Sandwell) 01902 444141 (Wolverhampton)
Samaritans 116 123
Its important to take care of yourself and get the most from life. The Mental Health Foundation have published 10 practical ways to help look after mental health. You can view this article by clicking on this link – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health
The British Dyslexia Association has a free webinar for parents to view. The webinar focuses on managing anxiety for parents and their children. You can register to view the webinar here https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/4646118730518821645
There are free mindfulness resources available from Breathworks and Oxford Mindfulness which can be accessed here:
MoodMaster has created free resources for parents in relation to lockdown and COVID-19. Free resources include ‘Maintaining your wellbeing during self isolation’ https://www.moodmaster.co.uk/img/maintaining-your-wellbeing-during-self-isolation.pdf?version=7
The full range of free MoodMaster resources can be accessed here: https://www.moodmaster.co.uk/open-resources.html
The Contented Child have a number of webinars available for families, covering a range of topics including: Autism Spectrum Awareness, Social, Emotional and Mental Health, Resilience and Wellbeing, Emotional Regulation, ADHD, Dyslexia, Challenging Behaviour, ODD, Sleep and Preparing your child for school. These webinars are unfortunately not free – but you can access them through their website here: https://thecontentedchild.co.uk/webinars/
Information on COVID-19 for Adults
Some links to help look after your mental health https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-healthduring-coronavirus-outbreak https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
With thanks to the individuals and organisations who contributed to this information document. The information in this document is accurate of this date and will be reviewed updated and further developed to respond to recommendations and guidelines.
March 19th 2020 by WHO
For Additional resources on how to explain COVID-19 to your child and home educating resources/ top tips please see additional links below:
How Do I talk/ tell my child about COVID-19
‘But Why’ Podcast, there is a podcast for Corona information here
Anna Freud links – Supporting schools & colleges: A guide to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils and students during periods of disruption There are also three videos, one for school staff, one for parents and one for children and young people which may be useful.
Liverpool CAMHS resource – https://wakelet.com/wake/564d7bc8-4bc9-462f-a9e1-2deb03150c3
Place2Be – Guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing: https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/
Young Minds – Talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
Carers UK – Guidance for carers: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
Covibook – an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic:
Amaze – information pack for parents https://amazesussex.org.uk/faqs-about-the-coronavirus-for-parent-carers-of-children-with-send-brighton-hove/
NHS Wales and Community Child Health guide: Supporting Children with LD and ASD about Coronavirus
Sandwell Educational Psychology guide: Top Tips for Teaching at Home
Sandwell MBC: Useful Links and Resources
Autism.org.uk have part of their website dedicated to social stories and how to create your own https://www.autism.org.uk/about/strategies/social-stories-comic-strips.aspx
Generic Resources for Parents and Children
New Every Mind Matters COVID-19 assets: Every Mind Matters has created new COVID 19 specific assets to help you support the public’s Mental Health whilst staying at home. These include long and short videos featuring Dr Hilary Jones and animated social assets which are now available to download on the Campaign Resource Centre.
Public Health England has also developed new content for the every mind matters website: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
All of the Public Health England resources relating to Covid-19 can be accessed here: https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources
Additional links for support:
Kooth– www.Kooth.com – Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people
Self injury support- www.selfinjurysupport.org.uk- helpline, text support, webchat and self help resources for women and girls who self-injure
National self harm network– http://www.nshn.co.uk/- Online Support Forum- The forum provides crisis support, information and resources, advice, discussions and distractions. Closely monitored, available 24/7
Papyrus– https://papyrus-uk.org/- confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through our helpline, HOPELINEUK
Young minds– https://youngminds.org.uk/ – information on various mental health condtions- also offer a Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544
The mix– https://www.themix.org.uk/ -UK based charity that provides free, confidential support for young people under 25 via online, social and mobile
Centre for clinical interventions– https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself – Self-help workbooks and resources for a number of mental health and emotional well-being issues including anxiety, depression, body image issues, assertiveness, perfectionism.
MindEd– https://mindedforfamilies.org.uk/young-people/ – education about your child’s mental health
Think U Know– https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ – information about safety on/off line
Fun activities to do with young children or creative children
Homemade obstacle courses
Use as many safe objects as you can and get your child to run around or navigate these
If it is sunny outside why not try placing objects by a piece of paper and get your child to draw round the shadows. From this you can create this into an activity of looking at the way the shadows and shapes might change as the sun moves throughout the day. Or use the shadows to create a scene or a picture.
Take your child into the garden with some water and let them create shapes on the ground with the water
Home made naughts and crosses
Why not try and make your own naughts and crosses using tape in the garden if it’s sunny, and find items to use for the naughts and crosses.
If you have a wall or pavement outside in the garden that is easily washable, why not try letting your child create chalk drawings on the pavements or walls. This could include games like hop scotch snakes and ladders.
Some information on what celebrities are offering
Physical Exercise with Joe Wicks- videos can be accessed here; Joe Wicks School Workout – YouTube
Maths with Carol Vorderman – videos can be accessed here; Maths Factor – Carol Vorderman – YouTube
English with David Walliams https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/
Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver) https://www.jamieoliver.com/…/category/get-kids-cooking/
Music with Myleene Klass https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQh2wgJ5tOrixYBn6jFXsXQ