Mental health services are coming under considerable pressure as those feeling more alone than ever, need support.
Across the country, people are grieving loved ones, fearful about their own health, worried about their financial situations and feeling lonely and isolated as they are cut-off from family, friends and the support that they might normally rely on.
Life as we know it has been disrupted and coronavirus will be causing psychological suffering for many. Those with pre-existing mental health problems are at higher risk of distress because they’re unable to get the help they urgently need.
That’s why we’re helping charities like Kids Inspire, which is addressing the impact of coronavirus on the mental wellbeing of children, young people and their families.
Kids Inspire have been experiencing a huge demand in their services since the first lockdown and are preparing for an increase in cases relating to trauma, bereavement and families in conflict. At the end of March, Kids Inspire was delivering an average of 290 online support sessions per week, over the past two months, this average has increased to over 400.
People are reaching out to Kids Inspire for help with anxiety, sleep problems, panic attacks, depression, loss, and child-to-parent violence.
Those with pre-existing mental health issues are especially affected, but Kids Inspire are also seeing the emergence of new issues in those with no history of mental health problems.
Coronavirus is placing strain on family relationships and reshaping how children engage with their education. Many of the children the charity supports consider school as their ‘safe space’ and they are now trapped in environments that heighten their fears.
For others, the thought of returning to school is creating significant anxiety. The charity also supports children who live with elderly relatives who are having to shield due to health reasons.
Children like 9-year-old *Sam, who previously experienced physical and emotional abuse and now lives with his grandparents and three other family members.
Sam experiences fear for his grandparents’ health, and fear that if something happens to them he may be forced to return to live with abusive parents or placed in foster care. He is currently acting in survival mode and having outbursts of anger. When this happens, Sam can hurt himself or the younger children in the home.
Kids Inspire is helping Sam to understand his feelings and find healthy ways to control his behaviours. Without Kids Inspire, Sam could remain in survival mode with escalated aggression towards his family – and upon return to school towards other children.
Kids Inspire are delivering therapy over the phone and on video calls, ensuring children and young people have quick access to mental health support at this critical time. Arts and play packs are provided to help children express their thoughts and feelings during their therapy.
Help those hit hardest by coronavirus in our communities
*This person’s name has been changed to protect his identity.