Supporting young people during COVID-19

  • April 30, 2020
Our Early Intervention & Prevention team has found ways to support children and young people remotely, from drawing pictures together on video calls related to feelings being experienced to using ‘The Great Isolation Activity Book’ and helping older ones to plan a daily schedule and routine to help their mental wellbeing.

Children’s Support Worker Amy says:

“I have been doing two video calls a week with a 6-year old since lockdown began. It has been a lovely opportunity for her to share her world with me. She has shown me her toys and read me stories, shown me educational posters she has on her walls and has been showing me her school work she has completed. We have also been drawing pictures together, showing each other through the camera. These are ‘Feeling Flags’ we have worked on together

Our Children’s Mentor Hannah gets creative to keep her mentees occupied:

I have to be be creative in getting children engaged, using messaging and video calls and finding what works for each child. I have put together two of these little packs for two children who live in the same house and haven’t got access to computer and printers at home. “This is in addition to trying to check in on children and families in a safe way, contacting other agencies such as social services to try and make safe contact and liaising with schools if children are struggling

Young people’s mentor Ben says:

Many of the young people I am supporting during the lockdown have struggled to maintain any meaningful form of structure in their day. This is not a criticism of young people as this also seems prevalent in wider society; people struggling to adapt to a temporary different way of life, overcoming boredom as well as potentially stressful situations at home.

I have been keen to encourage the young people I’m supporting to try and adopt a sense of structure despite not being at school or having regular activities they may have been involved with before the lockdown. A key emphasis has been for young people to be given information about their Circadian Rythym or body clock. Young people have more spare time available which for some may mean they are able to stay up into the early hours playing video games, watching TV or staying connected to friends on social media. I have shared information with young people, without judgement, that a lack of structure and late nights may have detrimental effects to their physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

Encouraging young people to include structured activities into their day, focusing on their own interests, hopefully with some physical exertion, good sleep and a healthy diet will help young people to be at their best when society returns to some sort of they are able to return to school.

One young man, Danny*, 15 years old, who I am working with said that initially during lockdown he was struggling emotionally. Danny is talented in sports and had not exercised for several weeks since lockdown began. Danny said that he was worried about Coronavirus and had been going to bed late, playing video games for extended periods and waking late which had taken a toll on his mood which had contributed to him having frequent disagreements with his carers.

I helped Danny work on an informal plan for him to incorporate activities and tasks to do each day to keep his body and mind active as well as offering support and advice to help improve his emotional wellbeing and resilience through this difficult time. For two weeks now Danny has been going on a daily bike ride, exercising at home, getting up at 8am every day and going to bed earlier, watching sports documentaries which are entertaining but also assisting Danny’s education (Danny is hoping to follow Sport’s Science as a career path).

During Danny’s support we did some work on positive affirmations. Danny came up with own motto “My needs are more important than my wants.” Danny has been keen to have his motto at the heart of everything he tries to do. Danny has said by having a more structured day he is feeling more in control of his emotions, feels more motivated and is getting on with his carers better.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of this client

*All images used on this website are representative. All names are anonymised for people’s safety.

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