As children and young people are preparing to go back to school, health organisations in the Black Country and West Birmingham 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.
Scott Humphries, Divisional Director for Children, Young People and Families, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: â€œAs 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.
â€œWe know itâ€™s not easy to talk about mental health, but weâ€™re encouraging young people to reach out for help if they need it, and to talk about any worries or concerns they may have.
â€œIf youâ€™re worried about your childâ€™s mental health, theÂ YoungMinds Parents HelplineÂ can provide advice and support. The NHS is here for you, so please talk to your GP or local NHS mental health services. Also raise any concerns with your childâ€™s school.â€
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- Appearing low in mood, withdrawn or tearful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 Salma Reehana, Clinical Chair, Wolverhampton CCG added: â€œWe are reassuring parents and pupils in Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and West Birmingham that they canÂ return to school safely and that protective measures are being implemented in all schools as per national guidance. 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.â€‹ Parents should speak to their individual schools and teachers is they have any concern about their children’s safety. Our children’s education matters and I would urge parents to send themÂ to school.
â€œThe 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.â€
Scott Humphries, Divisional Director for Children, Young People and Families at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: â€œItâ€™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.
â€œVisit NHS 111 online or contact your GP immediately if you notice any physical injuries such as deep cuts or burns.â€
The following local mental health support and helplines are available:
- If you live in Sandwell and Wolverhampton you can get online help and advice at https://www.blackcountryminds.com/
- If you live in Dudley and Walsall you can get online help and advice at http://www.dwmh.nhs.uk/child-adolescent-mental-health-services-camhs/
The following national helplines and websites are also available:
- 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
- The Mixcall 0808 808 4994 (Sunday to Friday, 2pm to 11pm)
- If you identify asÂ male, you can call theÂ Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight, every day).