What steps is the Welsh Government taking to ensure that support is available for the emotional and mental health of children and young people in Wales during the coronavirus lockdown?
On 15 April the Minister for Education announced an additional £1.252m funding for school counselling services to extend support during the current year, with many counselling services having now moved to provide support online or via telephone during the current crisis. We are also in the process of developing an online mental health signposting tool which will be hosted on Hwb. This will provide a quick and easy overview of available mental health resources for children and young people, as well as parents, carers, and professionals who may wish to direct a child or young person to this information.
We continue to promote the availability of helplines to provide support to anyone who is concerned about the impact of the lockdown on their mental health. The NHS guidance developed with partners for children and young people is available online: http://callhelpline.org.uk/COVID19Young.asp. This provides signposting to additional support including MEIC, Childline and Papyrus who offer young people emotional support and may be accessed by phone, text or online chat.
All Local Health Boards have reviewed their existing CAMHS caseload and are continuing contact with those with the highest level of need whilst offering alternative options and information resources to those children and parents where this is most appropriate.
Face to face contact is being reduced to the absolute minimum across the NHS to protect both the young person, their families and the staff involved. Use of telephone and technology is being used where possible – including the new “Attend Anywhere” software now being rapidly rolled out across Wales.