We help children and young people to talk about their feelings in order to build their self-confidence and resilience. We also help families to cope with situations which include physical and mental health issues and family dynamics. By helping at an early stage, our work aims to prevent more serious problems arising in the future.
We caught up with Michael Rooke, Early Help Services Manager to hear about how our Emotional Wellbeing Support services, Butterflies and Time for You have been affected by COVID-19 and how the shift to virtual support has resulted in some positive learning. Michael explains below:
“Both our Butterflies and Time for You services are still running ,all be it at a reduced capacity. We are providing remote support using video or phone calls in order to allow our Support Workers to provide the most suitable support for each young person.” Michael explains.
“It has been great to see the importance placed on the service by many schools and, in particular, the fantastic relationships our Support Workers have with the schools and young people. Workers have been incredibly proactive in setting these sessions up and families have cooperated really successfully setting up suitable space for their children to access the support and also in the setting up of the video technology or facilitating phone calls where necessary.
We are nationally seeing levels of mental health issues increase massively and unfortunately this is particularly high among young people in these uncertain and increasingly often challenging times. There is already talk of a legacy of a mental health epidemic as a result of COVID-19.”
Michael continues: “Working with very young pupils at infant school age and indeed some older pupils who struggle with verbal communication and literacy has been considered carefully and has resulted in some really creative ways of working.
Young people are incredibly adaptable and for many communicating this way is as second nature as a face to face meeting – for some it is easier! There are of course those who choose not to have face to face sessions via video but they can access telephone support.
Staff would of course prefer to deliver their support face to face but they are just pleased to be able to support their young people. There has been a bit of a learning curve with using the technology, but this has been a small hurdle that our fab colleagues have quickly negotiated. It certainly has opened our eyes to a whole other level of support that we can potentially offer to support young people across Norfolk and Suffolk.
It is great to have such a capable and dedicated team, they have gone out of their way to provide support wherever possible and I know are keen to continue doing so. I can only see that the demand is going to considerably increase in the future.”
To learn more about our Emotional Wellbeing Services, please visit: https://benjaminfoundation.co.uk/service-area/emotional-wellbeing-support/