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Young Minds’ advisers have answered your questions on children's mental health and wellbeing

(72 Posts)
JustineBMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 30-Sep-20 17:16:05

Uncertainty and anxiety has been prevalent for many this year, and it’s no surprise that lots of children have struggled to cope in the circumstances. With that in mind, Young Minds have two advisers from their Parents Helpline to help answer the questions you might have about your child’s mental health and wellbeing.

“Better Health-Every Mind Matters offers simple, NHS-approved tips for supporting your child’s mental wellbeing, plus more advice from its charity partners. These include Young Minds who have two advisers from their Parents Helpline to help answer the questions you might have about your child’s mental health and wellbeing.”

Some background information on the advisors answering your questions can be found below:

Jack Parnell-Driver started as a volunteer on the Parents Helpline 7 years ago whilst studying for his degree in Psychology and Counselling. In his time on the service, he has been a frontline adviser and managed the volunteers, Professional Advisers and staff on the service. His experience has been focused on working with children with learning disabilities and emotional problems in school. He is currently training to become a Counsellor/Psychotherapist.

Stevie Goulding is also a Parents Helpline Co-Manager, she manages all of the volunteers who work on the service, some staff members and is also a lead safeguarding officer. Stevie began her career as a volunteer in 2016 whilst she completed her Psychology degree, and after graduating became a full time helpline advisor. Last year, Stevie finished her Master’s in Forensic Psychology and has been a Team Leader since last summer.

Please note that Stevie and Jack will not be able to respond to any questions about responding to physical violence or aggression. If you have questions about this, please contact the Parents Helpline instead.

Please leave your questions about your child’s mental health and wellbeing - whether related to COVID or not - in the thread below. Stevie and Jack will be back on Thursday 8th October to answer questions.

All who leave a question will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 voucher for the store of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!


Insight Terms and Conditions apply

OP’s posts: |
BristolMum96 Wed 30-Sep-20 18:20:44

My 3 year old has really suffered with her mental health this year due to not attending nursery and all her classes and groups being cancelled. She still can't go anywhere or see anyone due to closures. As on only child she is starting to become quite an unhappy child despite my maximum efforts to negate this sad what can I do to help her?

Kakiweewee Wed 30-Sep-20 20:28:46

My female child has recently been diagnosed with ADHD at twelve after a poor first year at secondary school. They have issues with anxiety and controlling their moods. Is there anything I can do to support them that would both help their ADHD and help them manage their mental health? Does having ADHD change the strategies I need for supporting them with their mental health?

Ormally Wed 30-Sep-20 22:32:18

My DD is an only child and even before lockdown has been saying she is lonely. This continued, especially in the summer holidays once lockdown had finished, and on return to school her former very close friend is now not so close (and closer to others she has seen a bit more of in the last few months). I don't know the class parents very well. My DD did zoom calls and so on but with no siblings, has definitely been more isolated and now is a bit out on the edge in her new class. She would love a phone/gaming console - am considering the gaming console but worry that even that might make her feel a bit more like a spare wheel. What can you advise to help with this situation, especially where in-person group activities are not as easy as pre-March?

Ormally Wed 30-Sep-20 22:32:49

Age of child above = year 5.

Elysi Wed 30-Sep-20 22:42:05

My 13 year old, yr8, is mostly lovely but one small thing can trigger him and he gets so angry. His eyes roll, he hyperventilates, he goes rigid. Anger, processing issue, I’m not sure. I reached out to school for support but it didn’t happen due to Covid and now seems he’s at the end of a very long queue.

Pimmsypimms Thu 01-Oct-20 07:22:58

We have a had a hell of a year with dds (15) mental health. We finally managed to get help but it took way too long and there were far too many hoops to jump through.
It felt like every corner I turned around I hit a brick wall with regard to finding a service that could help.
How likely is is it that the government will put more funding in to helping our teens with their mental health issues? Specifically under 16s as I found it harder to get any help as she was under 16.

TheEndisCummings Thu 01-Oct-20 08:04:01

My 15 year old DD has a furious temper - really explosive - she flips between kind and horrid, so angry, so negative. Is this just to be put down to teenage hormones - or at what point should one take it more seriously and involve other agencies. When it is happening, we all want to die - but then it is over and we forget about it.

Pegase Thu 01-Oct-20 09:15:56

My six year old managed lockdown really well but since then her self esteem has plummeted. She puts herself down all the time, says she's worthless, hates herself and is naughty. She is pushing boundaries at the moment which doesn't help with us trying to be positive with her.

ButterflyOfFreedom Thu 01-Oct-20 12:18:50

My 8 yo seems to have a bit of low self esteem. He says other children are better than him and that he is not good at stuff (untrue of course).
How can I build him up?

Thank you.

Gazelda Thu 01-Oct-20 14:08:52

DD (12) worked hard all through lockdown, mostly alone as DH and I were WFH and trying to hang into our jobs.
She's being really hard in herself now, determined to work extra hard to make up for the 'lost' term. She's working herself into burnout which her teachers have also recognised.
How do I help her reign in her perfectionism and start to enjoy life again.
I miss her laughter.

vickibee Thu 01-Oct-20 15:38:55

My son aged 13 has asd, he was denied attending school during lockdown despite having a plan. Apparently he couldn’t do social distancing. Is this allowed, the school had not carried out a risk assessment. The lack of routine and being disengaged from school for so long has had a terrible effect of his emotional state.
He is not eating properly or sleeping properly and I am really worried about him. What can I do

Dizzywizz Thu 01-Oct-20 20:37:36

My 8 year old has been getting very anxious- he’s always been clingy, but now seems to have a panic attack if I’m out of sight, or if he thinks I will be, when we’re together, even if just for a few minutes. Eg when I took the dog to the vet I had to queue up outside, and he had to sit in the car with his younger brother. What can I do to help him through this? He goes to school fine now, but starting school was a nightmare. He’s young for his age (end of July bday). Any help appreciated!

Missandra Thu 01-Oct-20 22:12:36

My dd is 10 and in year 6. Her mental health has really suffered this year and especially during lockdown. In March she was a confident and at ease with herself. She now seems to have lost her confidence and speaks about sometimes feeling so anxious at school she pretends she needs the toilet so she can go and calm herself down.

I’m not sure what we can do to increase her confidence and reduce her anxiety.

Smarties87 Thu 01-Oct-20 23:23:01

My 11 DS has always been slightly anxious, however during Covid it has escalated a fair bit. He is a worrier by nature, very sensitive. He had his first panic attack in July. It was the most distressing thing to witness, for himself and me. He really thought he was dying and kept telling me over and over he loved me. It took ages to calm him down and he was distressed all day and night. We've worked on grounding techniques and breathing and it has helped loads. Subsequent attacks have been easier to deal with but they have escalated, especially in the last 3 weeks since start of school (first year at secondary) it's resulted in complaints of physical symptoms - headaches, stomach upsets, irritability and trouble sleeping. I'm at a loss to what to do next. We are on a waiting list for school councillor and GP referral to a youth councillor. I just don't know what to do in the meantime, what has triggered it, how to get him to deal with these emotions...after each attach he gets overwhelmed with sadness and it's heartbreaking...

Missandra Thu 01-Oct-20 23:38:18

@Smarties87 I have no advice to give because I’m trying to navigate a similar set of circumstances and not getting very far, but I just wanted to send you these flowers

Smarties87 Fri 02-Oct-20 09:02:53

@Missandra thank you, and same to you too. thanks my son is exactly the same, re the toilet thing in school...It's so hard isn't it. I'm still at the beginning of trying to get help. In the meantime I'm just trying my hardest to support him, it's just difficult to get a balance of support and patience, but still trying to keep him independent and facing some of these fears.

Afibtomyboy Fri 02-Oct-20 12:39:40

How best to approach a child that is very reluctant to open up but clearly has worries playing on mind?

tearskeepflowing Fri 02-Oct-20 12:45:07

Dd (11). Has always been really hard on herself, so if she doesn't get something right first time she gets angry and gives up. She seems to doubt herself and pretend she doesn't know things when we know she does.
It's hard to discuss things with her as she storms off and gets angry. It's such tiny things that this happens with and she is easily offended. any chance of discussing bigger things is slim.
We've had a bit of help at school which helped with her self esteem, but now feel like we're going backwards again.
Trying to get her to use meditation app but she won't try as it's too much effort.
Really how do I get her to not be consumed by anger? And to get her to realise she doesn't have to be good at everything?

excellencefood Fri 02-Oct-20 23:45:48

My dd 7 read a book recently at school and now she keeps having nightmares about it.

The only thing that will get her to stay in her room alone is to leave the light on. I'm ok with this but she won't even go upstairs or downstairs alone anymore, I have to go everywhere with her. She says burgers are coming to get her. It's really sad but it's also affecting her health now as she keeps getting up all night and she's really tired at and after school.

excellencefood Fri 02-Oct-20 23:46:12

Meant to say is there anything I can do to help her. Thanks

Quietvoiceplease Sat 03-Oct-20 13:56:44

What's your advice about helping YAs continue to feel motivated during lockdown? I have two DDs due to sit GCSEs/A'Levels next year, and whilst they are continuing with school work, it feels like all their certainties have gone and that their efforts feel a bit pointless - and, for the eldest, what should be an exciting prospect of looking about prospective universities, feels uncertain. Young people have been really messed around and I have run out of things to say to them beyond reassuring them that this, one day, will be over!

chillied Sat 03-Oct-20 18:16:55

DD is just starting Y10, starting Gcse curriculum has triggered anxiety. She has until now been a straight-A type student, very diligent, very hard working. Self motivated. I think gcses makes the stakes 'real' for the first time and she feels frozen with fears - better not to start a piece of work than to do it sub-standard.

More than anything she can't switch off the anxious whirling round and round thoughts in her head. How can I help? Counselling or therapy would seem helpful but I don't know what I'm looking for.

Wellswumswan Mon 05-Oct-20 08:56:20

Since lockdown in March and returning to school in September dd is experiencing debilitating stomach issues every morning before school. She is up early every morning, showered and dressed but either gets severe stomach pains on the way to school or throws up at home before leaving. Sometimes she doesn't make it to school.
She's had tests and the gp says it's IBS and has given her stomach calming meds.

It's her final year of school so missing lessons or being late every morning is not good and that adds to the pressure. She's worried about suddenly needing to use the toilets at school because they are full of students chatting.

I am assuming this is anxiety because it mainly happens in the hour before school. What strategies would help with this?

DaisyDando Mon 05-Oct-20 13:54:46

My son missed a chunk of Reception. He’s always struggled to make friends, and being an only child I believe he has slipped into a world of his own and is now finding school very difficult. He had a wonderful first week - a kind of honeymoon period - and now he is lashing out (verbally) and hugely negative towards instructions and expectations.
He has never been an easy or happy-go-lucky child. He probably has more attention than many children (with siblings) and is certainly not healthier for it. How can we encourage his resilience and independence but also his compliance and social skills without breaking his spirit?
We have probably always been too lenient and I cannot bear to see him sad, so probably overcompensate with fun activities and treats, which is spoiling him.

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