As children and young people are preparing to go back to school or college – in some cases for the first time since lockdown – health and care organisations across Lancashire and South Cumbria are reminding them of the mental health support available.
Parents, carers, and children may be anxious about returning to school and college for the new academic year. To protect students and staff from coronavirus (COVID-19), a range of protective measures will be in place, and a lot of things will probably be different.
Your child’s school or college will be able to give you more information about the specific measures they have put in place, but the government has also released information and practical guidance to reassure parents, carers and students that schools and colleges are ready for their return.
Shamaila Iqbal, CAMHS primary mental health worker and registered psychological wellbeing practitioner for Greater Preston, said: “It is more important than ever to look out for our children and young people and to help them access the support they need. We know it is not easy to talk about mental health, we would really like to encourage young people to have open conversations about their wellbeing, and to reach out for help when they need it.
“Parents and carers may be able to spot signs that their children are struggling, such as a difficulty sleeping, eating, or managing their emotions. They might appear in a low mood, more withdrawn or tearful. We want to make sure when they spot these signs, they know what support and resources are available for them.”
Peter Tinson, executive lead for out of hospital services at Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to remember that you are not alone, and support is available. If you need urgent help, there are a number of different helplines you can call at any time.
“Developed by partners across Lancashire and South Cumbria, the Healthy Young Minds website contains some really helpful information about coronavirus, and self-help tools for if you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.”
The following mental health support is available locally:
- The Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System interactive Mental Health Services Map helps people find the closest mental health service to get the most appropriate support and care.
- The Healthy Young Minds website focuses on many common issues such as anxiety or low mood. There are resources for children and young people, parents and carers and professionals along with contact details for local services should these be needed.
- Togetherall is an online service to support young people aged 16+ across Lancashire and South Cumbria with anxiety, depression, and other common mental health issues
- Kooth is an online service to support young people aged 10-16 (aged 11-18 in Blackburn with Darwen) and offers free, safe, and anonymous online support (Monday to Friday, midday to 10pm and weekends, 6pm to 10pm)
The following national helplines and support are available:
- Childline call 0800 1111
- The Samaritans call 116 123
- YoungMinds Crisis Messenger: text YM to 85258
- Papyrus Hopeline UK suicide prevention helpline: call 0800 068 4141 or text 07860 039967
- The Mix a support service for young people. You can talk to with the online community, on social, or through the confidential helpline or our counselling service. Call 0808 808 4994 (Sunday to Friday, 2pm to 11pm)
If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)