Public Health England (PHE) has launched Every Mind Matters, a new campaign to help children, young people and their parents when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, research has shown that lockdown and other restrictions have had a negative impact on the mental health of many children. Around 41% of children and young people have said they feel more lonely than before lockdown.
New PHE survey data found that two-thirds of parents say their children’s behaviour has changed since the start of the pandemic (69%) and when asked their top 3 worries around Covid-19, over half (52%) said the mental wellbeing of their children topped the list of their biggest worries.
As we adapt to a new normal many parents and carers anticipate their children will experience new stresses. This includes facing the challenges of catching up with missed education, starting new schools or colleges and building relationships with friends again.
Mental health problems among young children is an increasingly worrying problem and while the pandemic shed a light on its growth, it has also allowed society to take a better look at how we can be kinder, more flexible and supportive.
Public Health England advice and tips include;
- Be there and listen.
- Keep being involved in their life.
- Take what they say seriously.
- Support positive routines.
Nadine Dorries, Minister for Mental Health, said:
‘The effects of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health have been challenging and it is vital we continue to do all we can to protect them and prevent long-term effects.
‘Young people should feel encouraged to speak up, look out for each other, and ask for help. This campaign and these resources are a great way to access support and help parents to understand steps they can take to care even more for their children’s mental health and wellbeing.’
Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, NHS England Associate National clinical director for Children and Young People’s Mental Health, said:
‘As young people go back to class, it’s understandable that while many will be excited to get back, 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.’
Emma Thomas, chief executive of YoungMinds, said:
‘The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact of the lives of children and young people across the country and many have struggled with social isolation, anxiety and fears about what the future holds.
‘We know how important it is for young people to get early support for their mental health when problems first start to emerge. This is a welcome and much-needed campaign, and we hope that it will provide young people with the resources to support their mental health and to seek help if they need it. We also hope that it will ensure parents and carers have the tools to support their children’s wellbeing and help them adjust in the coming months.’