Children and young people’s mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
A challenging event like the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can affect everyone’s mental health. Each of us is doing our best to look after ourselves. But young people and children might need extra attention and support.
For some people, there is a sense of a ‘new normal’ and of getting used to these temporary circumstances. As the situation evolves, anxiety levels may change. Others will find it an increasingly difficult and anxious time. But for most, there will be ups and downs on a daily basis.
Times of Crisis
If your child experiences a mental health crisis contact your:
- public health nurse
- local Emergency Department (ED)
For those already engaged in services, they should also call their local community team.
There are also other service providers that offer online and phone mental health supports and services in times of crisis:
- online counseling
- phone and text services
- online supports
Barnardos provide a national telephone support service for parents, in response to the challenges they are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Freephone 1800 910 123 (from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday)
Barnardos also provide a children’s bereavement helpline service, for members of the public seeking information and support in relation to bereavement. Telephone 01 473 2110 (from 10am to 12pm, Monday to Thursday)
Learn more here: https://www.barnardos.ie/
BeLonG To provide support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland
Text LGBTI+ to 086 1800 280 to chat in confidence with a trained crisis volunteer (anytime day or night, standard SMS rates may apply)
While face to face services are closed, information, referral and advice will be provided digitally, by email, SMS, phone call or video conference
Visit www.belongto.org for more information
The Jigsaw Support Line is available for free mental health support and advice to young people aged 12 to 25 years old, and parents or concerned adults in Ireland
Freephone 1800 544729 (from 1pm to 5pm Monday to Friday)
Text CALL ME to 086 180 3880, giving your preferred day and time for a call (from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org (for responses from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
Visit www.jigsaw.ie or www.jigsawonline.ie for more information
Bodywhys staff is working remotely due to COVID19. They, therefore cannot take PiLaR bookings through the office landline, by phone.
Please contact email@example.com with any queries on PiLaR.
We are taking bookings for the May PilaRs: Galway and Carrick-on-Shannon. For supports during COVID19, please see here.
Smart Phone Based Apps
These mobile apps can help you manage anxiety. They have been approved for listing here by the HSE Mental Health Group.
Accessing CAMHS during COVID19
Your child may be currently accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). If they are, it is important that they continue to engage with their mental health team. This will support their recovery.
HSE CAMHS community services are still providing face-to-face appointments where necessary. Many CAMHS teams are also providing one-to-one appointments over the phone.
Your mental health team can go through options with you over the phone.
Freephone 1800 111 888 anytime for your local services phone number.
The CAMHS service is open for referrals and GPs can make referrals.
How you can help younger people’s mental health
Continue to talk about what is going on but remember you might feel anxious at this time too. Children and teenagers will often take a lead from adults.
Stay calm and manage your own anxieties first. You’re not alone and you can check out support and information services for advice.
Explain that it’s normal to feel anxious about coronavirus. But reassure younger people that it is less common and severe in children. Remind them there are things they can do to stay safe.
Practical Things You Can Do As A Parent
Make time for younger people to check in with friends and family they may be worried about. They can do this by phone or video call, so they can see they are okay.
Keep younger people informed about what is going on. Use words and language they can understand. Try not to overwhelm them with unnecessary information.
Let them know, in a reassuring way, that someone they know might get sick and need to go to hospital for a little while. Tell them that the doctors and nurses will try and help them feel better.
Keep up routines
Routines give children and younger people an increased sense of safety. As much as possible, during the week, stick to your regular time of getting up and going to bed. Make a plan for the week that works for you and include physical activities that they enjoy. You can also create new routines. Children benefit from about 60 minutes of regular exercise or movement a day.
Find things you enjoy doing and allow time for relaxing. Try some breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.
Don’t feel bad about allowing a little extra screen time, whether that’s to watch a family movie. Take part in online group activities, or simply to give yourself a small break.