Childrens Mental Health

Due to increased risk associated with the highly transmissible new strain of covid 19 and the significant rise in local covid-19 cases my private practice remains closed. Please visit my website for up-date announcements. In the meantime I will be operating an appointment waiting list with existing patients being given priority.
Thank you for your understanding and stay safe.

We have all experienced to some degree the negative impact of lock-down on our mental health and wellbeing. Some find it easier to cope than others and this is reflected within the NHS workplace with hospitals offering quiet spaces for those that need it to relax and reflect. Counsellors have been employed to offer help to those who are feeling overwhelmed with the situation and responsibilities associated with working in a pressured clinical environment. Cancer patients attending Dorset County Hospital for chemotherapy are still able to access the Fortuneswell Clinical Reflexology service.  Myself, Lorna and Jane continue to deliver our holistic therapy on a daily basis helping patients to relax and offering a listening ear to enable them to voice their concerns, emotionally supporting them through difficult times in a safe and secure environment. 

Generally, adults understand the severity of the current situation. For some living this experience has raised concerns resulting in stress, anxiety and changes in behaviour. However, gaining understanding can also provide us with life lesson coping strategies and mechanisms that when put in place help to alleviate fears and manage stress and anxiety. Children and young adults whilst listening or absorbing information intentionally or un-intentionally do not have the same ability to reach  understanding as their life experiences have been limited and therefore they do not have a library of coping strategies or mechanisms to call upon when they are feeling stressed, fearful or insecure when faced with traumatic events or their daily routines are disrupted.            

Becoming aware of Childrens Mental Health Week 1-7 Feb and being a grandma and great grandma to children aged 18months to 16 yrs (and older) I thought to explore the effect this pandemic has had on the younger generation. This family snap-shot revealed that although the needs of each child are individually unique there emerged a common theme.  The appearance of behavioural changes that I believe to be a direct result from the children being denied physical social interaction.  Little ones may not be able to recognise or understand that being denied access to familiar social groups be it grand parents, friends, school mates or activity based interest groups has compromised their educational and life skills development.  We know that young children learn through play how to communicate, complete tasks and become socially aware. Being denied access to the environment in which to develop these basic skills I hope will soon be resolved with the re-opening of early learning centres, nurseries and infant schools. Signs that children are not coping is often reflected in changes in behaviour such as bed wetting or an un-willingness to take part in their normal routines ( bedtimes/mealtimes). Parents devoting time with patience and continual re-assurance and introducing new routines developed through play with specific task setting such as little creative projects may help.

Older children and teenagers often do recognise that they are not coping but unable to express their worries or put coping strategies or mechanisms in place may develop issues around food and mealtimes, become withdrawn, moody or may resort to unruly or bad behaviour. Parents taking time to sit and encourage conversations talking about worries may prove difficult but worthwhile if pursued. In most cases across all ages and throughout adulthood behavioural changes may be an outward expression of internal issues such as feeling insecure, unloved, lonely or fearful of the future.

Searching on-line I came across  This is a registered charity with the aim of providing mental health counselling support and training to schools to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and staff and sign-posting to other resources. Their theme for this year is “ Express Yourself” and I totally support their concept of using creativity as a healing tool connecting mind, body and  imagination.  Billy Ocean has joined with the Young Voices Choir and released a fundraising Place2be charity single. “When the going gets tough“ Very apt !!!!!!!!

Contact  Tel 01305 784986.