Looking after our young minds during the coronavirus pandemic

It goes without saying that current events are tough on all of us, and children and young people are no exception. Uncertainty, confusion and anxiety over what’s going on, change of routine, separation from friends and wider family, limited opportunities to explore the world and even, sadly, loss of loved ones can have a huge effect on young minds. It’s vital that we’re looking after ourselves and our children through this strange time to ensure that they can be as healthy and happy as possible.

Our partners, YoungMinds, are the UK’s leading charity fighting for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. They have a fantastic bank of resources available to help parents, carers, schools and young people to look after their mental health during the pandemic, including tips for coping with anxiety about coronavirus and advice for specific mental health conditions.

Their support includes:

  • A Parents’ Helpline which offers a free service to parents who are worried about the impact of the situation on their child’s mental health. Call them on 0808 802 5544.
  • YoungMinds Crisis Messenger. For young people who are really struggling this can be a lifeline and is open 24/7. Text YM to 85258 for free support.
  • 360 schools’. The digital community is home to more than 10,000 professionals with whom they are sharing all of their advice and guidance. A downloadable resource for schools to give to their students to take home and share with their parents is now available.
  • YoungMinds are also continuously developing their digital content on everything from surviving close family contact on an ongoing basis, to dealing with health anxiety and pulling together ideas for virtual shared activities that they can push out to young people to help those who are worried about isolation.

One of the most important ways we can support children and young people’s mental health in this time is by encouraging them to stay active. Regular exercise has proven benefits for mental health, including:

  • Raising our heart rate and releasing endorphins to help make us feel good;
  • Releasing tension and anxiety;
  • Boosting physical and mental energy;
  • Improving sleep quality and helping us to re-charge.

FREE real PE at home resources for schools and families
Unfortunately, current measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus make it harder to find opportunities to get out and about and be active as a family. To support families to keep moving and play together, we’ve made our real PE at home resources available for free until 6th September 2020 to help families access and reap the benefits of quality physical activity. These resources support families to play and learn together and include 12 themes, 6 areas, over 250 activities and challenges and 1000s of hours of fun and activity for every family. There are also carefully selected personal best challenges, skills and games designed for the home and garden for children in Key Stage 2.

By using these resources to play and learn together, we hope that real PE will help families to stay happy and healthy as we face this challenging time together.

Click here to receive free real PE at home access. 

For more ways to support our children and to find out more about YoungMinds visit their website, or for free help and advice call the YoungMinds parents helpline on 0808 802 5544.

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. Create Development support over 6,700 schools to develop the whole child through PE. Our charity partnership promotes YoungMinds 360° schools’ resources to teachers helping them support the mental health and wellbeing of all children. Find out more about the partnership.