Help and Advice
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, people need some help during this difficult time.
We have placed some Food and Baby Bank referral forms and information in the documents below for people who are struggling. If you need help with the forms our staff will be happy to help.
The Waltham Forest website has a wealth of information and help for people who are suffering hardship. They can help with things such as:
- Local welfare assistance
- Discretionary Council Tax reductions
- Discretionary Housing Payments
Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (COVID-19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
Looking after your mental health while you have to stay at home
The government is now advising us to avoid all but essential social contact. This will mean that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us. It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.
It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the Internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.
Make sure your wider health needs are being looked after such as having enough prescription medicines available to you.
Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak
Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
Follow hygiene advice such as washing your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds with soap and hot water (sing ‘happy birthday’ to yourself twice to make sure you do this for 20 seconds). You should do this whenever you get home or into work, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. If you can’t wash your hands straightaway, use hand sanitiser and then wash them at the next opportunity.
You should also use tissues if you sneeze and make sure you dispose of them quickly; and stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
Try to stay connected
At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family, by telephone, email or social media.
Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.
Also remember to regularly assess your social media activity. Tune in with yourself and ask if they need to be adjusted. Are there particular accounts or people that are increasing your worry or anxiety? Consider muting or unfollowing accounts or hashtags that cause you to feel anxious.
Talk to your children
Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm.
We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible. Let’s not avoid the ‘scary topic’ but engage in a way that is appropriate for them.
Try to anticipate distress
It is OK to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past, or if you have a long-term physical health condition that makes you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. We should also be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking.
Try and reassure people you know who may be worried and check in with people who you know are living alone.
Try not to make assumptions
Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.
Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media
There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance.
It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.
How can staff improve outcomes for traumatised children?
- Create relationships with children
- Create a safe and caring classroom and school environment
- Be predictable
- Make each child especially the ones with challenges feel valued
- Set up a safe place in class where students can calm themselves
- Teach children about the brain
- Teach children ways to calm themselves down and self regulate
- Build a support system using focusing on loving support rather than punitive consequences
- Use visual aids and social stories eg ‘school bubble’
- Be aware of your own self care so you can model wellness and be calm yourself as you deal with difficult behaviours
Below are links that parents or students may find useful for help and support during these stressful times:
Trauma Informed Practice / Mentally Healthy Schools
- Trauma informed schools
- Anna Freud - schools in mind
- Social stories (LGfL)
- Mentally Healthy Schools
- Heads Together
- Corum Life Education Wellbeing resource
- Hub of Hope
- Time to change
- Education Support Partnership - 08000 562 561 (24h support line for those working in education)
- WF uses the public-health approach to domestic abuse Safe & Together: https://safeandtogetherinstitute.com/about-us/about-the-model/
- Operation Encompass: https://thehub.walthamforest.gov.uk/news/operation-encompass-we-need-schools-get-involved
Safer Recruitment & ongoing culture of vigilance / suitability of staff
- safer recruitment consortium
- SCR Code of Conduct
- See the Addendum April 2020 around remote contact with children / home visits etc
- See Checklist for recruitment during Covid
- See DBS response during Covid
- SIE team can facilitate training for on
Allegations against Staff & Safe Practice,
and SCR-accredited Safer Recruitment training
Please contact Safeguardingineducation@walthamforest.gov.uk for more info
Gambling PSHE Resources
- Exploring risk in relation to gambling lesson pack (KS2)
- Resources for promoting resilience to gambling (KS4)
- How to address gambling through PSHE education (Staff Handbook)
Support for Parents around School Exclusions
- Equalities and Human Rights Commission - Equality Advisory and Support Service
Phone: 0808 800 0082
- School Exclusion Project: free legal representation for parents around challenging school exclusions
Clinical Supervision in schools
- National Hub for Supervision
- PHSE Learning
- SIE team can facilitate monthly Peer Supervision for safeguarding staff – pls contact Safeguardingineducation@walthamforest.gov.uk for more info
Visual Aids / Posters
- Bullying https://www.booklife.co.uk/collections/free-posters
- Feelings https://www.booklife.co.uk/collections/free-posters?page=2
- Staying Safe Online https://www.booklife.co.uk/collections/free-posters?page=2
- Washing hands https://www.washroomcubicles.co.uk/free-school-washroomposters/
Action for Children
Charity supporting children, young people and their families across England.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
Hub of Hope
A national database of mental health charities and organisations from across Britain who offer mental health advice and support.
Counsellors available until 10pm every day. Free, safe and anonymous online counselling for young people. Check whether this is offered in your area.
Me and My Mind
Advice and support for young people struggling with unusual experiences, such as hearing voices.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
NHS app with confidential health advice and support for 16–25 year olds.
Youth Support for young people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
On My Mind
Information for young people to make informed choices about their mental health and wellbeing.
Rethink Mental Illness
Charity working for people in housing need by providing free, independent, expert housing advice.
Time to Change
Support for people under 25 who hear voices, have visions or other unusual sensory experiences or beliefs.
Women's Aid (England)
0808 802 5544 (parents helpline)
85258 (crisis messenger service, text YM)
Committed to improving the mental health of babies, children and young people, including support for parents and carers. Provides information on medication for young people.
Advice and counselling network for young people, including details of free local services.