Supporting Children (and families) with emotional well-being
We know that for some of our children, the pandemic has resulted in increased anxiety, self-esteem issues and a whole variety of quite complex well-being issues. We know that this is not just a Chyngton issue, but also a national issue. While children are enormously resilient, we also know that they need us to listen deeply to their concerns. That is always the most important thing that we can do, but sometimes we can feel a bit unsure of what to say, or worried about saying the wrong thing. We would always urge you to speak to your child’s GP with urgent issues, but it is also useful to signpost you to other useful services that may be able to support. Of course, you are able to talk to us as well, in fact please do contact your child’s teacher in the first instance.
Some of these resources are aimed just for children, others at supporting you and some are suitable for both.
East Sussex Mental Health Support Team
The practitioners work in schools across Sussex (including ours) supporting children with low to moderate mental health difficulties. They have developed a range of short mental health themed webinars for parents and carers to help increase knowledge of children’s mental health and build strategies to manage mental health difficulties at home.
Parent and Carer Mental Health Webinars include:
- Understanding Children and Young Peoples Mental Health
- Supporting Children and Young People with Phobias
- Supporting Children and Young People with Low Mood
- Supporting Children and Young People with Anxiety
- Supporting Children and Young People with Sleep and Healthy Eating
Please note that all webinars will be via Microsoft Teams. You will need access to this on either a computer or mobile device. These webinars are suitable for anyone caring for a child aged 7 to 17.
Further details can be found at https://czone.eastsussex.gov.uk/media/8600/parent-and-carer-webinars-2022.pdf
By searching for ‘Young People in East Sussex’ you can find more support on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
East Sussex School Health
The days of having a school nurse attached to a school are long gone, but we do still have access to their service. We can refer or parents and carers can refer themselves directly using the online referral form. (Do not be confused by the fact that it has Kent NHS in the title, they provide the service for East Sussex).
They can offer support around issues such as: diet, bowel and bladder concerns, healthy lifestyles (sleep, screen time, gadgets etc.) and the Ready, Steady Go (Healthy habits) healthy lifestyle programme. They can also signpost to other specialist services. For primary children this could be a one off visit or up to six contacts.
NHS Every Mind Matters
Visit https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/ for tips on improving your own mental health and supporting your child’s. There are various different strategies here, so there are plenty of ideas that might be right for you.
Young Minds is a brilliant charity, which promotes good mental health and well-being for children of all ages.
https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/ gives you information on many conditions from anxiety to anger, depression to self-harm, self-esteem to challenging behaviour and much more. It is incredibly useful. To go directly to the Parents Support Guide A-Z click on https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-guide-to-support-a-z/
People think of the NSPCC as being a body that you can report your worries about a child to. While this is true, they are so much more than that. They offer advice to parents dealing with their own mental health issues as well as giving advice on how to support children with their anxieties and specific disorders. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/childrens-mental-health/ takes you directly to the Children’s mental health section and https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/ takes you to their support around online safety – parental controls, sexting, cyberbullying etc. This is ever more important with children spending so much more time online during the pandemic.
This is a new East Sussex charity. Its mission is to support parents, children and young adults who are struggling with their mental health and normalise these conversations. To offer a safe space for families to come together. Families can refer in directly or can be referred in via school. Find them at https://www.holdingspace.org.uk/about-us
Every day the Samaritans respond to 10 000 calls for help. Calls are free to 116 123 or local charges apply on 0330 0945717.The closest branch is the Eastbourne branch which can be found at The Haven, Bottom Road, Eastbourne, BN213JT if you would prefer to see someone in person. There is also email and APP support. Visit https://www.samaritans.org/branches/eastbourne/ for more details.
Being a parent is not always easy. You are not alone if you find it difficult at times. In East Sussex you can access support for children of all ages at https://www.openforparents.org.uk/. This includes parenting, relationships, school, addiction, mindfulness, health and mental health. There is also the excellent Gingerbread charity who support and advise single parents. They are a wealth of support on very practical issues and well worth contacting. https://www.gingerbread.org.uk/what-we-do/advice_and_support_for_single_parents/ explains in more detail what they offer.
If somebody in your family has died, you may be struggling to cope with this, or perhaps be unsure of how you can explain this to your child.
Cruse Bereavement at https://www.cruse.org.uk/ do not just support adults, they will also support children and young people.
Winston’s Wish was the UK’s first national bereavement charity and they support with the death of a parent or sibling. Even if your bereavement is not in one of these groups, the website has brilliantly supportive book lists and resources to help your child make sense of the loss in an age appropriate way. Full details can be found at https://www.winstonswish.org/about-us/
Domestic abuse can affect everyone differently. It is any physical, psychological, emotional or economic abuse by someone close to you. It includes stalking and harassment, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour crimes’ and female genital mutilation.
In any emergencies, you need to call the police on 999.
We know that Covid and lockdowns have (locally and nationally) increased domestic violence. We understand that living in a situation where there is domestic violence has a huge impact on the whole family (even if they do not see it directly). Support is there, nobody should have to live in that situation, but it can be hard to make that first step and reach out. You can feel incredibly alone, overwhelmed and confidence in your ability to see change in your life can be very fragile. However, sharing what is happening with somebody who can help is the first step to a healthier and safer future for you and your children. These organisations are here to help you, whether you need somebody to talk to or are at the stage where you need practical support to make a new start.
- Change, Grow, Live is an East Sussex organisation supporting anybody over 16 who has been or is affected by domestic violence. If you would like guidance or support around domestic abuse, they are here to help. They take referrals from professionals, or you can get in touch yourself. If your needs aren’t right for their service, they can help you find the support you need. Go to https://www.changegrowlive.org/domestic-abuse-service-east-sussex/info
- Refuge is the free national 24 hour national domestic abuse helpline. Their number is 08082000247 and their website is www.nationalaidhelpline.org.uk where you can also access live chat on a Monday-Friday between 3-10pm.
- Visit https://new.eastsussex.gov.uk/children-families/family-support/domestic-violence for information and links to topics such as: fleeing domestic abuse, The Survivors Network (for survivors of rape and sexual violence), stalking and harassment and other national links.
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Child Welfare and Parent Support Advisor