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The ‘New Normal’ meeting the learning and mental wellness needs of children and young people

We already know that things cannot and will not go back to normal by themselves, so what does the ‘new normal’ that meets the learning and mental wellness needs of children and young people look like?

Research shows that moving from a fear-induced state follows a trajectory of aggression and violence or shutdown and depression. It is thought that the worst of this pandemic is yet to come.

The summer will be a telling time for young people, after a long time of ‘bracing’ due to threat we have already seen a return to school, places of work and routines reintroduced. With September and a planned full return to school for all children, looming we have long had our attention on the recovery phase.

The Trauma faced – during and after the pandemic – we already know is significant and with no certainty yet as to what extent the actual impact will be, we may see panic attacks or school refusal and attendance issues. We already know the critical role that key stakeholders play in a child’s life, and this includes parents, family members and schools.

Close and open communication is the key to identifying any physical and psychological issues and to comforting children. During lockdown at Kids Inspire we saw an increase in demand which has now reached over 5,000 online therapeutic sessions delivered. Demand is not easing with over 100 new enquiries coming in weekly. We remain open and available with our sights firmly set on the here and now.

‘Schools have a critical role, not only in delivering educational materials to children but in offering an opportunity for students to interact with teachers and obtain appropriate psychological counselling.’  Guanghai Wang et al (2020)

“The type of support given must fit the needs of children, young people, families, and school staff.  It is imperative that we do not forget that one size does not fit all.  It is vital that we recognise through experience that the needs will fit across a continuum from early intervention to complex trauma and that we plan accordingly.  Understanding both child and brain development will aid planning.” Commented Sue Bell, Clinical Director at Kids Inspire.

Sue went on to say: “Schools can provide a safe environment for children to return to. However, this will not be a smooth transition. Things cannot and will not go back to normal by themselves. Psychological and therapeutic support will be needed for the children to re-gain their self-regulation and re-gain a sense of safety and resilience.”

Kids Inspire shifted its services online during the lockdown and is currently assessing the needs of existing services users to make decisions about delivery in the future. Importantly ‘Talk Together’; the charity’s response to the coronavirus is prepared for the recovery phase and is available for children, young people and families. We welcome enquiries about our services:

Call: 01245 348707 or Email: Clinicaladmin@kidsinspire.org.uk

Now is the time to draw on the expertise of those with established trauma-informed practices. We cannot underestimate the need for specialist support if those who have physically survived COVID-19 are going to also recover and survive mentally.