It’s wonderful news that following yesterday’s announcement, children will be returning to school from the 8th March onwards. It is so important that we get students back into their classrooms, and back learning, after what has been a challenging past year for them. Whilst no doubt parents will be relieved that their children’s education will no longer be negatively impacted, the cost of Covid-19 on the lives and futures of many children is not to be overlooked. As we have explored in some of our previous blogs, this generation of children that have been absent from schools for such a long period, will need huge support, particularly regarding their mental health.
Covid-19 impact of child mental health
There has been a lot of news recently regarding child mental health, and how many children are struggling to cope with being away from school and their friends. The impact of all this is substantial, because of this, we want to highlight how damaging a time this has been for young people, and to convey how important it is that they can access crucial support. It was reported last month that there had been a surge in mental health cases amongst young people, particularly in London. The harmful effect of being in lockdown, has resulted in hundreds of children self-harming or overdosing. Clinicians in London have already warned of a looming mental health crisis of young people over the next few years, after the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust saw a 30% increase in calls to its 24/7 crisis lines, compared to before covid levels. The combined negative effect of being away from school, friends, along with the uncertainty of their education and futures is leading to more children than ever seeking mental health support.
Additionally, it was reported at the beginning of January, that children being referred to the NHS with serious mental health problems, reached a record high, with 4,615 per 100,000 children being referred. This alarming statistic was revealed to be an increase of 20% from this time last year. Consequently, this highlights how drastically covid-19 has hugely fuelled what was an already increasing problem, which could lead to a wave of problems for young people, without a considerable amount of support, which they desperately need. This could lead to a young generation having major issues later on in their lives if unresolved now. NHS research have stated that one in six children across the UK now have a mental health problem, compared to one in nine, a couple of years ago. Furthermore, it was reported that there has been a 400% rise in child eating disorders during this pandemic. It is so important that we act now, with many families fearing for their children’s futures, this mental health crisis needs to be addressed now.
How we can help
Our ethos has always been to aid and support children around London. We understand how difficult a time this is for many families, so we aim to play our part in ensuring that their children can access the required support now, establishing them to go on and enjoy healthy, happy and fulfilled lives. In partnership with the London Children’s Practice, our ‘Someone To Talk To’ project will provide a free accessible mental health service for children and young people, where they can hugely benefit from regular one-on-one times with a therapist. This will offer a safe and protected environment where children can discuss any mental health issues they have as a result of Covid-19. Little Lives UK will do everything we can, to ensure that this generation that faces a mental health crisis, will not suffer any long-term effects due to Covid.
Now that schools have a set date for reopening, we’re aiming to work with a number of schools across London on our ‘Someone To Talk To’. We want to make sure that children and young people receive this necessary support, to help them combat any issues they may be feeling as a result of schools’ closures. You can help make sure that as many children as possible can access our services, so please support our work by donating towards the project. Every donation will be assuring that struggling children can get the appropriate support that they need.
If you want to find out more about the ‘Someone To Talk To’ project and see who our official sponsors on the project are, please take a look at our previous blogs here for more information.