At Childline, we know how challenging the past ten months since the first national lockdown has been for young people. The pandemic has turned so many young people’s lives upside down, and thousands have struggled to cope with the challenges that have come their way.
Day in and day out our Childline counsellors have been speaking with young people about issues and worries including school closures, limited access to wider support networks, cancelled exams, and not seeing family and friends. Since last April, Childline delivered 54,926 counselling sessions with children and young people struggling with their mental health. Those who got in touch spoke about concerns including, feeling low, depression, anxiety, loneliness and low self-esteem.
One girl, aged 16 who contacted Childline, said: “I feel really sad and lonely. I need to talk to someone because I don’t really have anyone right now. I am really struggling with the whole isolation thing. Most days, I find myself just lost in my thoughts and feeling numb. I am classed as a vulnerable person, so my isolation lasts for 12 weeks, which seems like a lifetime. I just feel so lonely, even though I have people who say they are there for me if that makes sense? Everyone is struggling at the moment, and they have their problems to worry about, so I don’t want to burden them with mine”.
Currently, the future remains uncertain, and as we find ourselves in another national lockdown and with schools closed until at least early March, you may find yourself struggling to stay positive and get through each day. If you are feeling this way, this Children’s Mental Health Week I want to remind you that there are things that you can do to help take care of yourself, during this difficult time and that there are people and organisations like Childline that you can turn to for help and support.
Here are some top tips on how to look after your mental health.
- Talk to a trusted adult about how are you are feeling and what is worrying you. A trusted adult could be a parent, guardian, sibling over the age of 18, grandparent, teacher or a Childline counsellor. Sharing how you feel with someone you trust means that they may help you see things differently. They can also support you and give you ideas on how to cope. Speaking to an adult you trust will also help you not feel alone with your worries, and they can let you know that they will be here for you.
- Be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself like you would a friend and take the time to check in on your basic needs such as eating, drinking and resting.
- Take a break if you feel overwhelmed or are struggling to cope, you could go for a walk or listen to some music to give yourself some headspace. Taking some deep breaths will also help make you feel calmer and less panicked, and you can visit Childline‘s Calm Zone to find some activities that can help relax you.
- Try and build a healthy routine to give yourself some structure to your day. For example, you could set reminders on your phone to take regular breaks to read a book, go for a walk or ring a friend. Or you could get up earlier than normal and start your day with some deep breaths, some gentle exercise and have a healthy breakfast.
- Helping others or doing a random act of kindness can help you feel good about yourself and distract you from your worries. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; it could be as simple as offering to do a house chore like the washing up or making someone a cup of tea.
If you feel you have no-where else to turn or would like some extra support, please call Childline on 0800 111 or visit childline.org.uk. Our trained counsellors are here for you, and no worry is ever too small.
Adeniyi Alade, Childline Service Head