As children and young people go back to school, health organisations across Coventry and Warwickshire are reminding parents, carers and guardians that mental health support is available.
The message is to look out for signs that children could be experiencing low mood, distress or anxiety as they return to school or college after many months away.
Dr Asif Atta, Consultant Psychiatrist at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust said: “As children and young people return to school after so many months at home, it is more important than ever to look out for them and to help them access support. Some children may be feeling worried or anxious about returning, and they may have concerns about COVID-19 and safety.
“We know it’s not easy to talk about mental health, but we’re encouraging young people to reach out for help if they need it, and to talk about any worries or concerns they may have.
“If you’re worried about your child’s mental health, speak to your school first, often the school knows your child best and is able to make a referral to RISE. If the school is unable to help, please contact your GP or local NHS mental health services.”
RISE, a family of NHS-led services provide emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people in Coventry and Warwickshire can provide advice and support.
The signs that parents, carers and guardians should look out for in children and young people include:
- Finding it hard to manage their emotions
- Appearing anxious or distressed
- Increasing trouble with sleeping and eating
- Appearing low in mood, withdrawn or tearful
- Reporting worried or negative thoughts about themselves or their future
- For younger children, there may be more bedwetting.
Dr David Spraggett, Chair at NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We are reassuring parents and pupils across Coventry and Warwickshire that they can return to school safely and that protective measures are in place. School and colleges will be able to provide information about their particular measures, but the government has also released information and practical guidance to support parents, carers and students for their return.
“The national Every Mind Matters Mental Health campaign also includes some great new resources to support children and young people with their mental wellbeing and emotional resilience as they go back to school.”
Dr Imogen Staveley, Deputy Chair at NHS Warwickshire North CCG said: “It’s vital we give our children and young people the support they need to maintain their mental health and wellbeing. The NHS offers a range of mental health support for all ages. If a child needs urgent mental health support or advice, check the NHS website for services in your area, including 24/7 crisis support.
“Visit NHS 111 online or contact your GP immediately if you notice any physical injuries such as deep cuts or burns.”
The following local and national mental health support and helplines are available:
- Rise Crisis Line (For urgent calls, for Coventry and Warwickshire under-17s who are experiencing a mental health crisis) call 02476 641 799(Hours of operation: 8am-8pm) 0300 200 0011(8pm – 8am). Find out more at cwrise.com
- Dimensions Tool offers immediate tailored self-help support and signposting to local services.
- Mental Health Matters Coventry and Warwickshire call 0800 616 171, free 24/7 and confidential
- Chat Health is a free service that enables 11 – 18 year olds across Coventry and Warwickshire to send confidential SMS text messages to School Nurses who will provide impartial advice and support.
- For Warwickshire, text 07507 331 525
- For Coventry, text 07507 331 949
- Warwickshire County Council
- Coventry City Council
- Childline call 0800 1111
- The Samaritans call 116 123
- YoungMinds Crisis Messenger: text YM to 85258
- Papyrus Hopeline UK suicide prevention helpline: call 0800 068 4141 or text 07860 039967