Extra help

When there are big changes in the family that affect children and young people it is good to let the professionals working with them know so that they can offer extra support and understand their difficulties.

Staff at nurseries, schools and colleges are often skilled and experienced workers who can offer extra pastoral support during difficult times. They might especially need to know when a young person is worried and unable to concentrate easily as this may affect their progress in school. They will also need to know if extra time out of school is needed for hospital visits etc.,

It is important that you involve you child’s school or college so that extra problems are not caused by them not being aware of the situation. They will discuss with you who else might need to know in school and you can talk to them about confidentiality.Many teenagers are reluctant to tell school because they fears that staff will talk about them and they feel embarrassed by this.

Schools can also look out for any signs that they might mean that more help is need for your child or young person.While some of these signs are normal and natural in the early days, if you have followed the advice on previous pages and if they continue over many weeks please discuss them further with your GP or school nurse.

Continuing signs to look out for are changes in behaviour that continue such as:

  • excessive anxiety when away from family members
  • reluctance to go to school
  • headaches, stomach aches
  • bedwetting and other regressive behaviours
  • nightmares and significant daily sleep problems
  • excessive fear of dangers and worries about personal safety
  • continued deteroration in academic progress
  • persistent low mood that interferes with day to day life
  • withdrawing from friends and refusing to take part in social activities that they enjoyed before the person became ill
  • self- harm or expressing suicidal thoughts

Seeking help for significant concerns:

If, after following the advice above you still have significant concerns about your young person it is important to seek help from your GP. They will be able to help you and your child get the right help help however, in order for them to do this they need to know exactly what the difficulties are. Try to tell them exactly how the illness is affecting your child and what you have already tried or done to help.

Keeping your child or young person safe:

Very occasionally a young person can feel so overwhelmed by their difficulties that they consider self-harm and suicide. It is important that we take this seriously and encourage them to keep talking to us without over reacting or judging them. As a parent this can be very difficult to do however we need to remember to :

  • take them seriously
  • listen
  • show we care
  • be patient
  • seek help

If you strongly suspect that your child or young person is making plans to harm themselves, talking about dying then it is important to ring the GP surgery, tell the receptionist you concerns about your child and ask for an assessment appointment with a GP.

If something happens outside of normal surgery hours , your child tells you that they have done something to seriously harm themselves or you do not feel that you can keep your child safe the you can visit your local A&E and request help.

This leaflet can help you understand your child more when this happens: www.papyrus-uk.org

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