Young people share their wellbeing tips during COVID-19
While school routines have changed to home learning for most and there are restrictions in place for meeting up with friends during COVID-19, young people, including Members of the Wiltshire Youth Parliament have been speaking out about their own experiences.
Their advice and support comes as today (18 May) marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Charlie, a member of the Wiltshire Youth Parliament, suggests writing letters and sending artwork to local care home residents as a way to keep busy.
He said: "I find that my schoolwork is able to give me a good base for my day's structure but I often finish that earlier than I would usually, so I enjoy doing lots of baking bread, cookies and cakes. Reading and joining some online groups can be very interesting but also it can be very rewarding to do things for others within your communities, so you may also like to consider writing letters and sending artwork to local care home residents as they are unable to see their own families at this moment in time."
Scott, who is a youth consultant, said he's been looking at personal goals he'd like to achieve: "Even though we can't physically see one another, technology has allowed us to stay in contact and video call in this time message all your friends check if they are OK as that message might be the message that makes their day so much better. Personally I have been listening to music and allowed myself to breath from life and looked at personal goals I would like to achieve. we are all in the same situation in the broad picture, so we are all one together.
"Thank you to all the key workers out there keeping us going and impacting the people we need too and as a carer any young people that are looking after family in this time keep going you're doing a good job. Keep strong everyone and keep communicating to family and friends to make sure they are OK."
Aanya a member of the Wiltshire Youth Parliament said keeping in touch with friends is so important: "Personally I've been Facetiming friends and trying to keep a sense of routine which helps me mentally as you feel like you've got something to be doing and keeping yourself occupied while also staying in touch with friends."
Isabelle of the Wiltshire Youth Union said: "I've been cycling in my allowed outside time to keep mentally well because when I'm outside on my bike, my mind feels clear and positive keeping me in a happy but also healthy mood while in lockdown as well as keeping up with friends and commitments like guides (volunteering) and rangers through software's like zoom helping me cope with staying mental positive, interacting with people and keeping a normal routine while being inside. I've recently been inspired by the tip to take every day as it comes and to keep a routine/schedule as it helps making things seem a little less surreal, I've benefited from this tip a lot recently keeping me mentally well.
Becca of the Wiltshire Youth Union said: "During quarantine I'm staying mentally well by cuddling and walking my dogs and painting my wall/old t-shirts. Also playing and recording music is keeping me busy and happy. Lastly, video-calling friends has been essential in keeping me connected and stops me from feeling lonely."
Conservative Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills said: "Living through these times is difficult for all of us but I understand for our young people it is particularly challenging. To have young people sharing their thoughts and offering their own perspective on how to deal with life during COVID-19 is truly inspiring. They are a great example to us all."
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "Mental health issues can affect people of all ages and young people are no exception. Now, more so than ever, people are struggling with their own mental health so it is really important that we continue to raise awareness of such an important issue. As today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, it is really encouraging to hear from young people in Wiltshire about how they are coping during lockdown and the many creative ideas they have had to keep occupied. I've been very impressed with the way in which our young people in the county have adhered to the guidelines over the past couple of months and I am confident they will continue to do so."
Young people can access a range of support in a number of ways:
The On Your Mind website has online resources and details of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 24/7 mental health helpline for children, young people and parents/carers. 9am 5pm 01865 903777 5pm to 9am and weekends 01865 90100
Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) 01865 903889 - https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/
Kooth online anonymous counselling service
Young carer support is available with Carer Support Wiltshire