World Mental Health Day 2020: 5 tips for supporting young people during COVID-19

world mental health day sign with clouds and illustrations of people outside
This World Mental Health Day, we revisit advice from Dr Jon Goldin, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at GOSH, about supporting children and young people during COVID-19.
  1. When a young person wants to talk, make time to answer their questions. This doesn’t have to be sitting down face-to-face, especially for teenagers. Take advantage of any opportunities to chat as they arise. 
  2. If they ask you a hard question, don’t try to close it down. Offer reassurance without being dishonest.
  3. It’s important to normalise the feelings of anxiety: say ‘yes, I'm feeling a bit anxious too.’ But also try not to get things out of perspective. 
  4. We have a 24-hour news cycle and you only have to turn on the TV or radio and you’ll hear things about coronavirus. Monitor that, and moderate it to some extent. 
  5. Establish a 'normal' routine and try to follow it as much as possible. That’s difficult in the current climate, so young people need to understand why things are different. 

For more information on supporting children and young people during the pandemic, there are some good, reliable online resources out there – such as the Young Minds website, MindEd website and NHS 111