It is children’s mental health week. So this is a blog where we will share some practical top tips to help improve mental health. We will also be discussing how children’s mental health has been impacted by the pandemic.
Here are some of our tips for children who are struggling with their mental health. Please feel free to also download our image and share it with others.
Well-being and attainment
Whilst the government has stressed the importance of academic achievement throughout the pandemic. The overwhelming evidence of the impact of schooling on young people’s mental health cannot be ignored. Harry Daniels, Professor of Education at Oxford University, argues that “well-being and attainment are completely linked and we need to achieve a better balance in the attention all schools give to them.” ¹
A Guardian investigation into the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on children found:
- There has been a 77% rise in safeguarding referrals for students at risk of self- harming.²
- Prescriptions for sleeping pills have risen by 30%.²
- Admissions to private eating disorder services have risen by 71%.²
Young minds report
Young Minds released a report in late 2020 which comments that 58% of respondents described their mental health as poor prior to schools reopening; this figure has now risen to 69% now that they are back at school. In the report 23% of young people said that their school has reduced the mental health support that was previously available. ³ On the other hand, 9% of young people said that their schools have increased mental health support. Although, it is positive that some schools have increased their support the majority of students in the UK are still really struggling:
“Going back to school has increased my anxiety levels a lot. After lockdown, I find myself getting nervous about things I could do quite easily before, like walking to class on my own.”
“I relapsed on the second week back after eight months of being self-harm free. Everything was overwhelming.”
The statistics are shocking and it shows the extent that Covid-19 has negatively impacted young people. When delivering our Switch Ambassador Programme, we have also seen the impact that Covid-19 has had. Some words and/or phrases that the young people used to describe the lockdown are: a ‘living nightmare’ , ‘a time of loneliness’, and ‘ my world has come crashing down’.
¹ University of Oxford (2020). New analysis supports urgent need for policy reform to limit school exclusions in England after COVID-19 | University of Oxford. [online] www.ox.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2020-10-07-new-analysis-supports-urgent-need-policy-reform-limit-school-exclusions-england#
² Marsh, S. and Hill, A. (2020). Figures lay bare toll of pandemic on UK children’s mental health. The Guardian. [online] 21 Oct. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/oct/21/figures-lay-bare-toll-of-pandemic-on-uk-childrens-mental-health.
³ Young Minds (2020). Coronavirus: Impact on Young People with Mental Health Needs. [online] Young Minds. London: Young Minds. Available at: https://youngminds.org.uk/media/4119/youngminds-survey-with-young-people-returning-to-school-coronavirus-report-autumn-report.pdf.