Updated on 4 June 2020
From #PEWithJoe and painting rainbows for your front window to doing a TikTok dance challenge and taking part in #ClapForCarers, you’re probably focusing on lots of positive stuff right now. But you might also feel confused, worried, scared and little bit overwhelmed about what’s going on with coronavirus.
Research by Kooth has found that many young people are feeling unhappy and lonely during lockdown while a report by Partnership for Young London and Good Thinking recently revealed that boredom and uncertainty are key concerns. If you have existing mental health needs, coronavirus could be putting even more pressure on you. In a survey by YoungMinds, 83% of respondents agreed that the pandemic has made their mental health worse.
The Good Thinking team wants you to know that it’s OK to not be OK. Everyone is finding this hard. So, how can we help to make the current situation less scary? Let’s start by answering some of the questions you might have.
It’s really important that you and your family follow the official advice – as this will help to protect you, reduce pressure on the NHS and save lives. Most people only get mild symptoms of coronavirus and don’t need to see a doctor or go to hospital.
Even though experts say that children and young people are less likely to get coronavirus, you still need to follow social distancing and self-isolation guidance so you don’t pass it on to anyone else.
It’s perfectly natural to worry about your own health and that of other people in your family. Have a chat with your parents or carers or an older sibling about this – it’s important that they know how you feel. Always remember that following the official advice reduces the risk of getting the virus.
Social distancing helps to slow down the spread of the virus and save lives. Everyone in the UK has been asked to stay at home for many weeks, unless they are an essential worker, such as a nurse, teacher or bus driver. If you have to go out, you must stay at least 2 metres away from anyone else (that’s about the length of an adult’s bike). The infographic in this article in The Independent newspaper shows the power of social distancing.
NHS guidance is that self-isolation must happen when you (or someone you live with) has symptoms of coronavirus. You shouldn’t even leave home to buy food or go for a walk. You might have heard some people call this “quarantine”.
Read our blog by Callum (aged 12) who had to self-isolate.
Some people already have a health condition that means they might get very sick from coronavirus. This includes people who have had an organ transplant, people with specific cancers and people with severe respiratory conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and bad asthma. The NHS has written to everyone who is considered to be vulnerable to explain what they should do and how they can get support.
To slow down the spread of coronavirus, all schools across the UK have been closed since the 20th of March. The only children allowed to go to school are those with parents who are essential workers (NHS staff, supermarket workers, police officers etc) and children who have special needs or who can’t be cared for safely at home. Most children and young people should be able to carry on with their schooling at home – your teachers should be able to send you work or connect with you remotely and your parents or carers might be able to help.
If you are in early years, reception, Year 1 or Year 6, your school might have re-opened on the 1st of June and your parents or carers might have decided you should go back. Schools are putting various safety measures in place. Other primary years are preparing to return later this month and secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges are hoping to provide some face-to-face contact with certain years before the summer holidays.
If you were due to sit GCSE, AS Level, A Level or IB exams this summer, you’ll receive a calculated grade. This will take into account a range of evidence, including non-exam assessment and mock results. Your school or college will be able to tell you more.
Read our blog by a GCSE student.
It might seem unfair that you can’t hang out with your friends or visit your relatives at the moment but this is all part of slowing down the spread of the virus through social distancing and shielding. If you have elderly grandparents or friends with certain health conditions, they could get very sick if they get the virus. Instead, stay in touch with them by phone, text or video chat.
From the 1st of June, groups of up to six people from different households can spend time together outdoors (e.g. in private gardens and parks), following social distancing guidelines.
It’s just not possible to go swimming, play team sports, attend your art class or take a holiday the moment. We know it’s really frustrating but hopefully you’ve been able to find some other ways to stay busy and active. From the 1st of June, you can exercise or play sport in groups of up to six people from other households but only where it's possible to maintain a 2 metre gap. Remember to wash your hands after any sporting activities and clean any equipment you use.
With so much talk of coronavirus, it’s not surprising that you might struggle to get to sleep, wake up in the night or have bad dreams. It’s important that you get enough rest though so switch off your devices and do something relaxing before bedtime. Talk to your parents if lack of sleep is becoming a big problem.
Being in a confined space and not able to go to their workplace or see friends can be very frustrating. They’ll also be worrying about you and they might have additional concerns about their job and finances and where they can get essential supplies... but they won’t want to burden you with their worries! There are some small things you could do that might help to reduce their stress, like offering to do some chores or giving them a hug. If you’re worried that any tensions at home are getting out of hand, there are helplines you can call (see below).
8 fun things to do
The Good Thinking team hopes you found this article useful and we’d like to finish with one final thought...
Although what is going on is really difficult for everyone, try to focus on the positives. You’re probably becoming more resilient and more independent. You’re getting the chance to spend more time with your family and strengthen the bond you have with them. You’re seeing how there are helpers everywhere and how communities are supporting vulnerable people – just look at what Captain Tom Moore achieved with his sponsored walk for the NHS! Stay safe.
Tools for learning and fun
Mental health support
Check out Good Thinking's advice about dealing with anger and uncertainty. If your parent or carer is an essential worker or volunteer, check out this article by the Good Thinking team. If you're a student, listen to our podcast about supporting students through coronavirus.