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Coronavirus

Due to the COVID-19 situation, some of the organisations listed on this site have posted service updates and will continue doing so. Many phone lines and websites are still available, however some contact details may have changed. Try the organisation's own website if you're having difficulty getting through.

If you have any queries, please email us at dos@reading.gov.uk or fis@reading.gov.uk

Young Person Friendly Coronavirus Support

Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC)

Introduction

This page is a one-stop-shop for young people in Reading to access up to date information and support during the Coronavirus outbreak and government lockdown.

It’s important to ensure that you keep up to date with all the changes that the government are advising in relation to the coronavirus. This advice will help keep not only yourself safe but everyone else, please see the link below for up to date information:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

As well as following government guidelines, keeping our bodies and minds healthy is also very important. The links below will give you some advice and practical things to do. There is also additional advice in the tabs below around support and fun things to do!!!

Young People’s Guide – https://www.berkshirewestccg.nhs.uk/media/3942/coping-yp-bw-12.pdf

Coping Guide for children, young people and their families during lockdown - https://www.berkshirewestccg.nhs.uk/media/3933/coping-family-life-during-lockdown-guide.pdf

Updated - 18/09/2020  

Definitions

Definitions

There are lots of new words and term being used at the moment, so it is understandable if you are unsure what they all mean. Below are the definitions of the key words to understand:

Coronavirus:

A Coronavirus is a type of virus. There are a large group of these coronaviruses and each one is slightly different, but they all cause difficulties to the respiratory system, the system that helps you breathe. The virus can show itself as something like a common cold, to more serious infections. The coronavirus also might not show itself at all but can still be “carried” in your system without ever being aware of it.

Watch this video to find out more about the science of Coronavirus.

Quarantine/Lockdown:

A Quarantine/Lockdown involves people staying in their homes or in other places to help stop the spread of disease. As it’s possible to carry the virus without having any symptoms quarantine is even more important because people won’t know they are spreading the virus to others.

Social Distancing:

Social Distancing involves keeping away from other people to stop spreading a virus to others and making them unwell. It can mean different things such as standing further apart from others in a queue or staying away from busy places like restaurants or parks.

Social Isolation:

Social Isolation is when a person stays away from other people. Meaning they should stay inside their home or another chosen place and keep away from other people to make sure they don’t spread the infection to anyone else.

Staying Connected

Relationships

While being stuck at home you may be missing friends and family. Feeling lonely can have a bad effect on your mental health and can lead to difficulties like anxiety or depression. Staying connected to friends and family can help to overcome loneliness.

  • If you have access, using technology is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. Try to set up a video group call or arrange games to play together through apps; there are plenty of ideas online, from “quiz nights” to “Netflix parties”. Here are a couple of links that might help to inspire you Things To Do on Video CallsOnline Activities to Keep You Connected.
  • Spend time with the people you are living with. This can be a great opportunity to improve existing relationships by trying new activities together at home like cooking or exercise.
  • Being in a lockdown situation can put an extra strain on relationships, this is perfectly normal as finding space and time apart can be difficult. If you are struggling with conflict and arguments at home try to find ways of resolving these, here’s some link to help with this online: Advice on resolving conflict over different topics and When You’re Not Getting on With Your Family.

Education

Many young people may be feeling anxious about the impact coronavirus is having on their education. Keeping in touch with teachers and classmates to discuss work can help you feel more connected to the world outside of home as well as helping you to feel prepared when it’s time to return to school.

Make sure you listen to advice that comes from your place of education as things could be different from school to school.

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates examinations and assessments in England. They are working closely with the Department for Education and any announcements about exams, will come from these two organisations.

For ages below year 11 there are multiple links online to support you with learning outside of your school environment.

 Our top tips are:

  • Avoid distraction such as social media, gaming and unnecessary TV watching during study time.
  • Have a designated time each day to do additional studies.
  • Keep on top of work sent out by teachers.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact your teachers online for additional information or support.

Safety Online and Offline

  • ➢ If you feel like you are in danger call 999 now.
  • If you feel unsafe or you’re worried about someone’s behaviour, there are lots of people who can help. Childline offers lots of information and support on their website HERE. You can also call them on 0800 1111 or have a 1-2-1 chat online by following this link.

Some young people are experiencing bullying, street harassment and even assaults because of their perceived age, ethnicity and myths around the spread of Coronavirus. If you witness this taking place and think it is safe to do so, check that the person is okay, remembering to keep your distance. If they want to report it to the police, you can act as a witness. Other forms of harassment could come from associating with people who may be involved with anti-social and criminal activities. The best advice for this is to not get involved, stay home and keep safe

Online bullying also know Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones. It is repeated behaviour, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted. Examples include:

  • Spreading lies about, or posting embarrassing photos of someone on social media.
  • Sending hurtful messages or threats via messaging platforms.
  • Impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf.

Both Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. However, cyberbullying will leave a digital footprint, a record that can prove useful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse. Face to face bullying should always be reported to a trusted adult.

Find out more about keeping from bullying online & offline here with the NSPCC.

Learn how to stay safe online at the Safer Internet Centre

Additional information about keeping yourself safe online can be found on www.thinkuknow.co.uk

Fun Stuff

An important part of taking care of yourself at home is keeping busy and finding ways to enjoy yourself. This is a great opportunity to try something new. Give yourself a challenge try one new activity per day or week!

Below are few suggestions of fun things to try:

Get Creative:

Learn something:

Get active:

Other activities:

Feeling Good

Everything is different at the moment, there’s more to think about in terms of our health and less to distract us from bad thoughts while at home, so it’s natural to worry more or to feel worse than usual.

There’s no need to be embarrassed if you feel this way, sticking to the advice above will help you feel better but there are things to try if you still aren’t feeling good.

  • Childline and YoungMinds have lots of activities and suggestions to help with keeping you calm and staying positive

Online Information and Sharing

There will be lots of stories and information being shared about coronavirus, make sure you only follow and share official news sources such as GOV.UK, BBC News and medical advice from the NHS. Sharing or following advice from other sources could put you and others around you at more risk.

There’s a lot of news which can be overwhelming, if the 24-hour news is making you anxious or sad, think about only reading a few headlines a day and limiting how much you see. Social media is great for staying connected but remember not to give out your personal details to people you don't know.

When reading, sharing and posting information online a great tool to use is the T.H.I.N.K tool.

Consider:

T = is it True

H = is it Helpful

I = Is it Inspiring

N = is it Necessary

K = is it Kind

Learn how to stay safe online at the Safer Internet Centre.

Read more top tips from youth ambassadors at Better Internet for Kids about how to stay safe online.

Knowing how to keep yourself safe online is important, further information can be found on www.thinkuknow.co.uk

Screen time

Although technology is great there are times it can work against our mental health. If we spend too much of time scrolling through stories, comments, videos and pictures time can fly by, but you might end up feeling in a bad mood afterwards. This is because you haven’t been engaging your bored brain!

Experts recommend you spend no more than 2 hours in front of a screen each day.

 

That might seem difficult when everything seems to be on a screen, but the good news is you can improve your mood by thinking about the way you use screens.

If you use screens and technology actively it can be beneficial. Using a screen actively means using it to engage your brain. 

Examples of using screen time actively:

• Talking to friends and family: Instant messaging or video calling. 

• Learning skills: A language, a dance, crafts or games.

• Achieving goals: Completing school work, researching a project, completing a crossword.

• Being creative: Writing a story, drawing a picture.

• Having fun: Playing games, creating videos, memes or music

Routine

Keeping busy will help you stay focused on positive thoughts and give you a sense of achievement and the end of each day.

Keeping busy doesn’t just mean doing work and chores but filling your times with things you enjoy especially if you aren’t feeling great, treating yourself is especially important.

One way to help keep yourself busy is to follow a routine.

A routine is an order of actions you follow daily, like a school timetable.

Usually going to school, college or work helps you keep busy and to a routine. Now that we aren’t doing any of those it can be tricky to stick to one.  

Although the idea of sticking a routine might seem boring there are so many benefits to having one:

• Sticking to a routine can improve stress, anxiety, mood, concentration, attention, sleep problems and overall mental health.

• When everything else can seem out of control by sticking to a routine you feel secure because routine a is something that’s predictable and something that you can always achieve.

• Routine helps you stay on top of things instead of letting them build up and become overwhelming.

• Importantly building a routine helps you find time every day to get creative, be productive and do the things you want to do most!

You can see an example of a daily routine by clicking HERE.

Perspective and Positivity

With more bad news than normal, more to think about in terms of health and less to distract us from bad thoughts while being stuck at home it’s more important than ever to take a break and practice positivity.

Thinking positively means thinking good things so that we feel good.

If you aren’t thinking positively or feeling good give yourself a break. Try to:

  • Go for a mindful walk: Look around you, listen to sounds.
  • Listen to music that you find relaxing.
  • Write or draw how you feel.
  • Play a game.
  • Find more ideas HERE.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed and finding it difficult to think positively try to get some perspective or see the bigger picture. You can do this by asking yourself:

  • How will you feel about the thing that is upsetting you now in week’s/months or years’ time?
  • What things am I grateful for right now?
  • Who could I talk to about what’s upsetting me?
    • If you don’t feel like there is anyone you can talk to the Samaritans are always available to support, you with whatever you’re going through at any time. Call them on 116 123.

Find more support via these links:

Support for stress and other mental health concerns

Understand how to look after your mental health

Top tips for keeping good mental health

Professional Help

Sometimes we can try lots of things but feel like nothing helps, if that’s the case it might be time to ask for some help.

  • If you feel you are a danger to yourself or someone else right now, please call 999 to get the help you need.

Try to talk to a parent/guardian or a trusted adult about how your feeling and ask to speak to your doctor.

Your doctor can direct you to sources of help where you can learn skills and methods to help yourself when you are feeling bad.

In the meantime, there are lots of resources for you and parents/guardians to support your mental health online through:

No 5 is a service that allows you to share your thoughts with a trained counsellor in a safe and confidential setting, further information can be found at www.no5.org.uk

Starting Point is a mentoring service that supports young people aged 16 -25. Further information can be found at https://startingpoint.org.uk/

Useful Links