STAFF AT the regional arm of the NSPCC have been reminded parents to put their children’s welfare first during the current lockdown.

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, the UK's leading children's charity and Childline counsellors have provided families with some advice on how to cope during the current lockdown.

South West based Childline Counsellor Candia Crosfield said: “This last year has been a tough one for children and young people.

“They have faced disruption to their school lives, the enormity of global events happening all around them, and the uncertainty of what the future will bring.

“Every year this week shines a light on the importance of protecting children’s mental health, and in a year where many children will be suffering with the isolation and being away from their usual support networks, this is more vital than ever.”

Many children have suffered from mental health issues as a result of the current pandemic, with Childline providing more than 50,000 counselling sessions to children since restrictions were first introduced last March.

Concerns and worry have included loneliness, apprehension about the future, anxiety, depression and a whole host of complex mental health conditions.

One young person told Childline: “It’s been a very hard year and I was wondering if it’s just me who has so many ups and downs. I can feel so happy, but then so sad again.

“This pandemic has taken so much from people and I’m really scared about leaving my house now.

“It’s so stressful. The fact that I’m not going to school now takes the normality of my life away and it’s frustrating and annoying.”

Mrs Crosfield added: “Our counsellors know there are many children feeling this way because we talk about it frequently with those who contact us.

“A lot of these children will feel like they’re alone in the worries and anxieties they have, or that they’re not doing as well as their friends.

“This is why we should all use Children’s Mental Health Week as a way to prompt a discussion about how the children and young people in our lives are feeling – their worries, fears and concerns about what is happening now, and what the future holds.”

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have provided parents with eight ways to help children struggling during the lockdown.

Knowing how to spot the signs, talking to your child regular through whatever means you have available and providing them with structure and routine to their day as some of the coping methods suggested by CAMHS.

Using fun and creative ways to learn, limiting screen time and mixing up activities can also help to stop days becoming monotonous, and help to manage your child’s stress by provide variety to their day and including outdoor activities.

Also, not all feeling have to be expressed face to face; children might find it easier to express how they feel by writing their thought down.

The whole family could do this and put them in a ‘feeling box’ and talk about their good, sad, or difficult feelings at the end of the day.

To get in touch with Childline, call 0800 11 11 or visit