Pupils: Bereavement Counselling

Department for Education written question – answered on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what mental health support his Department is providing to pupils returning to school on 1 June 2020 who have experienced a bereavement as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. Access to mental health support including bereavement support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund.

All NHS Mental Health Trusts have been asked to ensure there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, including bereavement support, which is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

The department has signposted resources on supporting and promoting mental wellbeing, among the list of resources to help children to learn at home, which are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources. BBC Bitesize has also worked with the department to provide content with substantial focus on mental health, wellbeing and pastoral care.

The return to school will, in itself, be part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, as attendance enables social interaction with peers, carers and teachers. Pupil wellbeing is an important consideration within our guidance on actions for educational and childcare settings as they begin to open in June 2020. Further information is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020.

Children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations either by texting SHOUT to 85258, or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or The Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available here:

https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/.

For bereavement support children and young people can find online support from Bereavement UK, which provides information and resources to support bereaved pupils, schools and staff, and their website is available here:

https://www.childbereavementuk.org/.

Alternatively, children and young people can access support from the Childhood Bereavement Network website, which is available here:

http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/.

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