Help to those having difficulties with mental health
As the effects of Covid-19 and school closures continue to ripple through our communities, schools are working tirelessly to support their children. From the practical help of providing food vouchers for the most vulnerable families, to providing home learning resources and looking after the key worker children who need to be in school, teachers have also had the task of supporting the children with their mental wellbeing. Plans are being put into place, and already being executed, to ensure the children are nurtured and cared for through this incredibly challenging time.
On any normal day in the UK, an average of 112 children are bereaved of a parent. This doesn’t take into account deaths of wider family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings or family friends. During the height of Covid-19, ONS reported that by the end of March, the number of deaths in the UK was above the five-year average. On 8th April, ONS reported that deaths in the UK were more than double the five-year average!
In June there was a report of one school in Middlesbrough that had suffered 40 bereavements – this is truly heart breaking. It's not just the immediate families that will be affected by that, it's the whole community. It’s also very likely that this won’t be the only school to have suffered this degree of loss!
In 2017, the NHS carried out research that revealed 1 in 8 young people aged between five and nineteen have a diagnosable mental health condition. There have been many professionals who have been reported to have said they believe this to be higher. Numerous expert reports over the past few years suggest the figure is closer to 1 in 4.
Added to this the anxiety and loneliness that Covid-19 and lockdown have created, children are going to need an enormous amount of help.
With a desire to do something proactive, Clare Shaw, author of therapeutic stories for primary aged children, has partnered with a national mental health charity, Kaleidoscope Group Plus.
Clare writes picture books to help younger children understand certain situations. The current focus is on two of her books, Love Will Never Die; Helping children through bereavement and At Times I Get These Feelings; Helping children with emotions.
Love Will Never Die has been used by schools and funeral directors across the country since it was first published. It explains death in an incredibly honest and direct, child-friendly way. There are many areas where the child can write or draw their own emotions, while the text gently guides the child through their grief.
Children can find it difficult to identify and deal with their emotions. At Times I Get These Feelings covers twelve emotions explaining how each can make the child feel and offering hints and tips to help them with that feeling. There are many activities in the book that are widely used by teachers and ELSAs (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants) within schools and it has been hailed a “must have” for all children!
Established in 1973, Kaleidoscope Group Plus offer a wide range of services for people experiencing difficulties with their mental wellbeing. Their services include: ‘community outreach initiatives to provide opportunities to people who want to improve their wellbeing, counselling for young people and adults, corporate mental health training, national telephone support line, national crisis text line, as well as residential care homes and supported houses for the most vulnerable in society.’
Together we hope to be able to help those who need it across the country. We are working to get free copies of Love Will Never Die and At Times I Get These Feelings into primary schools across the UK through fundraising and corporate sponsorship. We have set up discount code KPG40 at www.cskidsbooks.com offering people 40% off rrp on these two titles; with every book sale on the website a percentage goes back into the charity to help fund the much needed and superb work that they carry out.
For more information about the charity please visit https://www.kaleidoscopeplus.org.uk/index.php
For more information about the books and to place an order please visit https://cskidsbooks.com/
Kaleidoscope Plus Group have just launched a brand-new service - Talk2Us - free to use for anyone in the UK.
You can contact them through the following:
Phone: Call 0800 059 0123 Monday-Friday between 9am & 8pm, Saturday-Sunday between 5pm-8pm.
Messenger: Chat to us online through our website, or directly through Facebook and a member of our team will be with you as soon as possible to talk. https://www.facebook.com/TheKaleidoscopePlusGroup/