As the coronavirus epidemic continues, we are aware that many of you may be experiencing, or may be encountering young people and/or family members who are experiencing high levels of anxiety, confusion, and a sense of uncertainty. Through liaison with colleagues in neighbouring Educational Psychology Services we are providing the following information that you may find helpful:
Information on potential risk factors for experiencing particularly heightened levels of anxiety
This specific pandemic is very new, meaning that we are still learning about psychological responses to coronavirus and the measures being put in place to manage risk levels associated with coronavirus. However, psychological theory might suggest that the following groups of individuals might be at greater risk of experiencing high levels of anxiety as a result of the threat of coronavirus:
· Individuals who experience high levels of anxiety more generally, or who experience health-related anxiety
· Individuals who have experienced the death of a key attachment figure (e.g. a parent, carer, or other close relative), particularly if the figure died of a similar condition
· Individuals with close family members who are at high risk (either through age or a pre-existing condition), or who are at high risk themselves
· Individuals who ‘over-expose’ themselves to concerning and potentially inaccurate information about coronavirus.
Behaviours associated with high levels of anxiety or perceived threat might include:
· Carrying out extensive research into coronavirus (to the extent that this interferes with other daily activities)
· Compulsive handwashing
· Being unable to sleep
· A reluctance to attend nursery/school
· New heightened anxiety on separating from the primary caregiver.
Resources that might be helpful for children, young people and their families
We’ve attached the following resources that may be helpful for children and adults working with children:
Cosy time - A story written for young children to help explain the upcoming over-70s isolation
Social stories to develop children’s understanding of the virus
MindHeart - A workbook to clarify understanding for children
Mencap easy read for accessible information to share about coronavirus
British Psychological Society - advice on talking to children about coronavirus
MIND – a response to maintaining mental well being
The following website links may be helpful in supporting children, young people and their families:
The YoungMinds UK advice on what to do if you’re anxious about coronavirus might be more useful for teens and young adults. The main focus is on self-care and they provide further information about how young people can look after their mental health if self-isolating.
Information video on Coronavirus for Primary age children (KS2), by Brainpop
Information video on Coronavirus for older children/adults, by WHO
How to talk to your child about coronavirus, by Unicef
Childline webpage for children
A Newsround clip
The YoungScot website accessible information for teenagers
BBC’s ‘Seven Techniques for Helping Kids Keep Calm’
Be mindful to look after your own health and wellbeing during this extremely difficult time.
Please feel free to get in touch with your schools/settings link Educational Psychologist should you wish to discuss these resources or any next steps in further detail.