Starting Monday, February 22nd, people who care for or work with children and young people under the age of 25 affected by COVID-19 (or other emergencies or personal crises) will have access to the new online psychological first aid (PFA). Training process.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on children, and many have reported that it made them feel more stressed, lonely, and worried.
Online courses developed by Public Health England (PHE) provide education on how to provide practical and emotional support to children and youth affected by emergency or crisis situations. Children and adolescents can be very resilient, but a crisis like COVID-19 can have serious mental health implications. Getting the right support early can prevent problems from occurring or getting worse.
Those who have completed education will be prepared to provide support to better identify children in distress, feel safe and bonded, and take steps to help themselves in an epidemic or other crisis situation.
It can be used by all frontline workers such as teachers, health and social workers, charities, and community volunteers, as well as anyone who cares for or has regular contact with children and adolescents under the age of 25, including parents and guardians. It’s free, takes about 3 hours to complete (divided into 3 sessions that learners can complete at their own pace) and no previous qualifications are required.
Upon completion, participants will be able to understand what PFA is and identify who can benefit from the support and how to best provide assistance for those who need additional support due to different age groups and different needs.
Clare Perkins, director of PHE’s mental health program, said:
The plague has brought serious disruption to all of our daily lives. Children are worse affected, trapped in the house and unable to have essential social interactions with friends. Many young people are worried about their future in these uncertain times.
Children and adolescents will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. The PFA training course will help professionals, volunteers, parents, and caregivers better identify signs of struggling people and provide timely and effective support to help them feel safe and help themselves.
The PFA is a world-recognized educational program designed to support people during or after a serious incident. PHE has applied this education for those supporting children and youth with the advice of a variety of experts, including NHS England, the Ministry of Education, and the British Red Cross, and is available online on the social learning platform Future Learn.
This new course follows the success of PFA training on COVID-19, launched by PHE in June 2020, and has received over 100,000 enrollments from front-line staff and volunteers to date. The UK Public Health Rapid Assistance Team also modified the PFA process last week for use in African countries affected by COVID-19.
Children and Family Minister Vicky Ford said:
This new training module is being introduced at a critical time. I know how difficult the epidemic can be for children and adolescents across the country, and whether it’s parents and carers, teachers, health and social workers, or volunteers, this extra support for those who work with them on a daily basis is timely and necessary.
It builds on our commitment to supporting the mental health of children and adolescents now and in the long run, and our expertise, such as the 8 Million Wellness Return Program for Education. This includes webinars for training staff who utilize and complement this psychological first aid e-learning. They will be of tremendous value to those who want to help and improve the mental well-being of children and adolescents, including teachers.
Mental Health Secretary Nadine Dorries said:
Children and youth were uniquely challenged by last year’s events. I’m committed to supporting them in this epidemic and beyond, making sure they give them the tools and support they need to stay mentally healthy.
This education ensures that people working with children and adolescents, including parents and guardians, can support their own well-being by helping them identify signs of distress and get the support they need.
We know kids can be very resilient, but we know that a crisis or emergency can have a huge impact on their mental health, and we need to keep making sure kids get the support they need.
NHS Mental Health Officer Claire Murdoch said:
The epidemic has turned our lives upside down, especially hitting children and adolescents. We have been working with our partners to make sure they are fully supported, and this online training is very important for people to understand how best to provide the right support at the right time.
It’s been a tough year, but the NHS is here for children’s mental health, so anyone struggling should get the help they need.
Dr. Sarah Davidson, Head of Mental Society and Mental Health of the British Red Cross, said:
Provided by PHE, this material enables a thoughtful and developmentally appropriate response to children and adolescents experiencing crisis. Clearly including useful links to other resources will help people know how to support while avoiding further harm.
This course is free for everyone who works with and caring for children and teenagers from 0 to 25 years old. No previous qualifications are required to register.
Visit GOV.UK and Every Mind Matters for public guidance on the mental health and well-being aspects of the coronavirus.
The PFA course is an educational resource that provides people with information that can help others. It is not a therapeutic intervention for people experiencing pain or crisis. Anyone in need of assistance should visit the NHS 111 website, call 111, or contact their GP.
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