First News

COPING WITH LOCKDOWN

- By Childline

THE new coronaviru­s, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, has been affecting people across the world. For the past six weeks, everyone in the UK has been required to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus. This means that you can only go out for essential things like food and medicine, or to exercise once a day.

How do the children and young people who are contacting Childline feel?

Childline is a free helpline for children and teenagers that is run by children’s charity the

NSPCC. It is there to provide support and advice about whatever is on your mind. Since the end of January, Childline has delivered 2,789 counsellin­g sessions about the coronaviru­s.

Many of those who have reached out to

Childline are struggling with their mental health and emotional wellbeing, and have talked about feeling lonely, isolated and anxious because of the pandemic.

What are they telling Childline? Childline is hearing from lots of children about the impact of school closures, with many saying that they are missing their friends and teachers, as well as struggling to keep up with schoolwork.

Now that everyone is spending more time at home, children are speaking about family problems such as arguments, with some young people who don’t feel safe at home reaching out for support. Young people are also telling Childline that they are worried about the wellbeing of their parents, who may be under additional financial pressure, as well as young carers struggling to look after their siblings when their parents have become ill.

What can you do if you have any concerns about the virus?

Wendy Robinson, manager of the

NSPCC’s Childline base in London, has this advice for any young person worried about the coronaviru­s.

“It’s very normal to feel worried. You may be concerned about your friends and your family, as well as school closures, but there are things you can do to help yourself cope.

“You may find there is lots of informatio­n out there that is confusing and overwhelmi­ng, so try to only read websites you know and trust, like Newsround or the NHS. It’s also important to ask a trusted adult any questions you may have.

“It can be helpful to keep talking to your friends and family online, or letting your feelings out and sharing your worries with an adult. It is also important to maintain a healthy routine, and keep busy with schoolwork or hobbies. While the internet is a great way to stay in touch with people, it’s important that you understand how to stay safe online. When online, only talk to people you know and always tell someone you trust if you have any worries.”

If you would prefer not to speak to an adult you know, you can speak to Childline online or by phone between 9am and midnight. Visit childline.org.uk, call 0800 11 11 or download the For Me app. The Childline website is available at all times, and has resources like the Calm Zone to help you relax, a mood journal for you to let your feelings out, and the Art Box for your creative side.

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Children are now connecting with family members, teachers and friends via computers and tablets
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Schools across the country have been closed since March
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