LGfL's Response to Coronavirus
A guest post from Kelly Hannaghan @mindworkmatters
The past year has been very challenging for many children. Statistics and research tell us that young people’s mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Explore what we can do as educators to ensure we respond effectively to the emotional health needs of our future generations and help them to grow resilience for managing any future adversities.
The impact is clear
Around five children from every classroom will have a mental health need, many more will be unknowingly struggling, with challenges arising from their experiences of the pandemic. Their depleting emotions may be triggered by anxiety, low mood or even a bereavement, and will be compounded by the loss of freedom and choices, along with the impact of the stopping and starting of education.
Be the guiding lighthouse in stormy seas
Educators have an opportunity to be the safe haven in seas of uncertainty for children and young people, by offering a consistent approach in teaching pupils about their emotional health. Helping them to identify their triggers for overwhelming thoughts and providing high quality learning and toolkits, to empower young people to regulate their challenging emotions.
Routines and having a sense of purpose are vital to support mental health, it can be helpful to explore a young person's hopes, dreams and goals, help them map out how to get the best from each day. Taking tiny, gentle steps can stop this process from becoming overwhelming and reminding the young person of their successes along the way. You may want to help a young person build a self-care plan; you can find support here at Every Mind Matters at the NHS
Social prescriptions for wellbeing
Evidence shows that social prescription is a helpful antidote to depleting mental health. This holistic medicine for the mind helps develop the positive brain chemistry to restore balance.
‘Shout Out’ about children’s mental health
How do you currently support children to express themselves, do they know how to express their feelings in a safe way, or where to access help? Here are my thoughts and ideas to help schools be a place that welcomes open conversations around mental health and wellbeing.
Remember to feedback and act on the voices of young people, that way it will show your commitment to supporting their wellbeing and mental health and let them know their input means something and has value.
Celebrating the power from within
A great way to inspire young people to recognise their strengths is to invite them to write a letter to their future self, congratulating them on how they have got through the pandemic or their struggles with their mental health and to highlight what they have learnt about their special unique qualities in this time.
Resources that can make a difference