PHE launches new mental health campaign to support children, young people, parents

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LONDON: Most families have experienced upheaval in their daily lives during the pandemic. With children and young people now back at school or college, PHE’s new mental health campaign provides NHS-endorsed tips and advice to help children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and equip parents and carers with the knowledge to support them.

Research reveals that the coronavirus outbreak has caused an increase in anxiety in young people. What’s more, over two-fifths (41%) of children and young people said they were more lonely than before lockdown and more than a third said they were more worried (38%). New PHE survey data found that when asked about their top three worries around coronavirus, over half of parents (52%) said the mental wellbeing of their children topped the list.

Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan

It’s a relief for most parents and carers that their children are now back at school, but, as we adapt to a new normal many anticipate their children will experience new stresses. This includes facing the challenges of catching up with missed education, getting used to new schools or colleges and re-building relationships with friends.

The new advice available on the ‘Every Mind Matters’ website is designed to help parents and carers spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health and support them. In addition to the advice for parents and carers the site also provides tools to help young people build resilience and equips them to look after their own mental wellbeing.

Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, NHS England Associate National Clinical Director for Children and Young People’s Mental Health, said: “It’s understandable that while many children and young people are excited to be back in class, some may also have concerns and anxieties about the new academic year, following the uncertainty and upheaval of Covid, which is why this important campaign is offering practical tips to help kids cope.

“Parents, carers, teachers and students should also be reassured that the NHS has been and will continue to be there for everyone with concerns about their mental health, whether through 24/7 crisis support lines, video and phone consultations, or face to face appointments.”

Faisal Tariq, a community development worker at Sharing Voices, a mental health organisation actively supporting and working with diverse minority communities in Bradford said: “We know from our work within the community in Bradford that throughout the pandemic and as young people have gone back into school settings that many are struggling with anxiety for a whole host of reasons. For many black and South Asian people, this has been more pronounced due to the fact that these communities have been disproportionately affected by negative health outcomes when it comes to COVID-19.”