The guide is advice on how to support themselves and the young people in their care during the coronavirus pandemic.
During this difficult time for parents and carers, particularly those looking after children and young people with mental health needs, YoungMinds has experienced an increase in traffic to the coronavirus advice on their website and many calls from parents to their Helpline about the impact of the pandemic on the young people in their care. Its new guide offers strategies and tips drawn from other parents as well as advice on how to look after their own mental health alongside their children’s.
In the new guide, the need for parents and carers to talk, listen and reassure children and young people is the top advice for supporting their mental health. Maintaining their daily routine and structure while keeping a level of flexibility is also important, as is limiting children and young people’s access to the news so as to avoid too much stress.
In terms of parental mental health, peer-to-peer advice emphasises the need for parents to practice self-kindness. They can do this by ensuring they make time for themselves in the day and not feel guilty about doing so, as well as not judging themselves too harshly when it comes to tackling tasks such as home-schooling. The guide also reminds parents and carers to seek help if they feel they need it by talking to someone they trust about any worries or concerns.
Deirdre Kehoe, director of training and services at YoungMinds, said: "The last few months have turned the lives of many parents and carers upside down. This is a really difficult time, bringing added anxiety and increased pressure, especially for those looking after children and young people with existing mental health needs. The support available might be much more limited than usual and parents may feel like they’re on their own in dealing with their situation.
“This is why it’s important that we all pull together, and share our own tips and advice that might help others out during this difficult time, but it’s also important to look after yourself too. If you are feeling worried, or anxious, talk to someone you trust who can listen and support you. Alternatively we’re here on our Parents Helpline if you need someone to speak to.”
YoungMinds’ dedicated Parents Helpline is the only national service of its kind and is still operating remotely providing free advice and support to parents and carers worried about the mental health of a young person under 25.
Download the guide for parents and carers here.
Or visit the YoungMinds online mental health hub for parents.
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