Mental health support for children returning to school

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For many young people in Cornwall the prospect of going to back school will be exciting, but after eight weeks of home working, some might be feeling worried. 

The team at Headstart Kernow, a project run by Cornwall Council, believe that it is perfectly normal to feel that way and have created a set of resources to support young people as they return to the classroom.

Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for children, wellbeing and public health Sally Hawken said: “Everyone is going to be approaching the return to school in a different way – some will be happy they get to see their friends, but others will be more anxious. The important thing is to support one another through this process and to remember; it’s ok, to not be ok!”

The advice for young people was created with the help of young people themselves and can be found at www.startnowcornwall.org.uk.

It contains information on the five ways to wellbeing, including some ideas on how to keep busy, and advice about healthy eating and sleep.  It also has a full list of telephone numbers and chat facilities where young people can get more help or talk to someone about their worries and concerns.

 Sally continued: “As parents we can start to talk to our children and young people about the daily routine that they were once so familiar with and what they are looking forward to about going back. You could go through some of the changes they may expect at school and think about ways they can re-establish their connections with friends and teachers. 

“Reassure children about the safety measures in place to keep them safe and remind them that they can also help prevent germs spreading by washing their hands with soap, coughing or sneezing into their elbow and giving everyone extra space.”

Kate Pordage from Headstart Kernow, said: “Many young people are going to be affected by the wider impacts of the coronavirus and we need to help them through this challenging time and the transition back into the classroom.

“One of the best tools is the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’, these are: connect, be active, take notice, give and learn. Simple things like taking a walk after school, chatting with friends or being more aware of the birds singing can all help with your mental health.”

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