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Trial teaching sessions for schoolchildren suffering stress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic

A virtual teaching session to help young people cope with the pressures of coronavirus is being piloted in two schools in Wiltshire.

The session, called “Managing change, loss and building resilience” is designed to promote  emotional wellbeing amongst young people, many of whom are beginning to feel anxious, or down as a result of the pandemic and the huge changes it has brought to everyone’s lives.

The course has been developed by Specialist School Nurse Kirsty Dalton (pictured) who is a member of our Wiltshire Children’s Community Services team.

She said: “Emotional wellbeing is just as important as physical health. Good mental health allows us to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at us and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.

“However, young people are being hit hard by the current pandemic and they are reacting in a number of ways. Some are becoming very anxious or feeling low in mood. Some of them are lonely, bored or feeling a sense of loss which can feel like grief.

“Many young people can’t express properly how they are feeling because they have never experienced anything like this before. The uncertainty is a big feature, the not knowing when it is going to end. Normally the adults in their lives, parents, teachers, carers and so on can give them answers but that is not the case with the pandemic.

“The result of all this is that young people are beginning to find it hard to engage in education, home life and relationships because of their change in emotional health.

“The worst case scenario is that some could become mentally unwell and we are beginning to see cases of this among some young people, particularly the academically able who are used to the routine and certainty they get at school.

“This is a group of young people we usually don’t have issues with but are now becoming a cause for concern with their parents ringing us to say they are worried about their children.

“One group of children who seem to be thriving at the moment are those with school anxiety and they are able to make the most of learning from home away from the pressures of school.”

The online sessions, which are also being delivered by school staff nurse Ruth Noakes, explain to young people what resilience is, the importance of good emotional health and will give young people tools and tips along with activities and advice  to help them through the current situation. The aim is to extend the sessions to  more schools in the county in September after the summer holidays.

They will explain the importance of eating and sleeping properly, exercising and show how to handle the “big emotions” like anger and frustration.

There is also encouragement for young people to continue to do things they enjoy like talking to friends, going out, walking etc.  And they include information on where to get more help.

 

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