Information for parents and carers of young people aged 11-18 who are worried about their wellbeing and want to know how to support them.
You might be feeling worried about your young person’s wellbeing or mental health now that lockdown and restrictions are easing.
This page has tips on how to support your teen's wellbeing, including advice on ways to get help. For information on how to look after your own wellbeing, visit our coronavirus information hub.
We're here to support you and your family through this time.
This page has information on the following:
Over the past year and a half, you may have been juggling work and family life with little or no support.
As a result, you might be feeling low, worried, pessimistic, angry or even apathetic about the pandemic – even now lockdown is ending. Our page on managing feelings about lockdown easing has more on what you may be feeling.
Caring for others might also mean you don’t feel like you have much time to look after your own wellbeing. But it’s even more important to take care of yourself when you’re supporting others.
For information on how to look after your own wellbeing, visit our coronavirus information hub.
"The feeling of losing time, not doing the things we could usually plan for and that we’ve missed opportunities and precious time. My son missing out on schooling and other experiences that he will now never get the opportunity to do."
Your teen may have heard different things about vaccinations or changes to lockdown. They might feel positive about what they've heard, or they might feel worried or confused.
It’s important to recognise how they're feeling, provide reassurance and separate fact from fiction.
Here are some tips for talking to them about lockdown:
When you talk, try to:
Ask them what they've heard about the vaccine or how the rules are changing, and help them to understand if what they’ve heard is true or not.
Use facts from trustworthy sources, like the NHS or the government. You can visit these pages for the latest government guidance:
Or you could offer to watch an unbiased news source together, such as BBC News. This will help to challenge any incorrect information they may have heard.
If you're worried about how much news they are seeing or where they are getting information from, encourage them to limit their intake by only checking at a certain time of the day or consider avoiding certain sites that aren’t helpful.
You can help your young person understand what the end of lockdown might mean for them and their life.
Planning could include how and when they can see their friends, or how they can go on holidays or trips out.
You could also help them to understand that while the government has planned for the end of lockdowns, things still might change. For example, if there is a rise in infection rates or new variants of the virus are found.
They may not understand, or want to understand, that future plans aren’t set in stone. But talking to them about it may help them to cope if plans do change in the coming months.
Reminding them of your love and support will help them feel safe and reassured if they want to talk.
Your teen might be feeling a mixture of emotions about lockdown ending. This can be really worrying and stressful for you both.
We're still living through a period of change, so it's natural to feel concerned or unsure about what to do.
You're not alone and there are lots of things you can try to support your teen:
Your teen might be feeling a mixture of emotions right now. They could be feeling annoyed or worried about the rules easing, or sad or worn down by the length of the pandemic. Our page on managing feelings about changes to lockdown has more on what they may be feeling.
However they're feeling, it's important to acknowledge their thoughts and emotions.
You could try to:
They may have gone a long time without seeing friends, partners or family members. And they may still not be able to see everyone they want to.
Encourage your teen to virtually connect with their friends, partners and family. You could also try to be more lenient with their mobile phone and social media use if it's helping them feel connected.
"I am grateful for the good things that came from the pandemic – more time and deeper understanding of each other with my daughter and partner, and teaching 'Granny' to play Facebook messenger video call games."
Their lives have changed a lot over the past year and a half.
Exams have been cancelled and they've been apart from friends, partners and family. They may also feel unsafe at the prospect of catching coronavirus, or worried about getting the vaccine.
It may help to:
You could encourage your teen to think about if they want to contribute to home life or wider society.
There are also lots of volunteering opportunities that they could take part in, such as virtual befriending or volunteering at a food bank. You can find your nearest food bank on the Trussell Trust's website.
Spending more time at home might have made your teen feel like they've lost their independence.
Try to find ways to give them time and space on their own, as well as spending time together.
"Taking my son for a walk everyday was a highlight of the various lockdowns and was sometimes the only point in the day that I felt we both enjoyed."
Sadly, during this time your teen may have experienced the death of someone they know. This may be because of coronavirus or it may be unrelated.
The pandemic also meant that there were restrictions around the usual ways we grieve. For example, it may not have been possible for them to attend the funeral in person, and this may have made it harder for them to process their loss.
For more information on supporting your teen with grief, visit The Irish Hospice Foundation and Hope Again websites. We also have information for adults about bereavement and grief, which you might like to read.
Some young people may have caring responsibilities for family members. They may feel anxious about what will happen if the person they care for becomes unwell, or if they become unwell themselves.
To help manage their anxiety, you could help them make a plan for if this happens. The plan could include the contact details of individuals and organisations that can offer support to your teen, such as Carers UK and YACbook.
You could also let your teen know about our coronavirus content hub for young people. This includes information on coronavirus and wellbeing, managing feelings about lockdown easing, plus lots of tips from other young people.
"My daughter who finds school hard has chilled out a lot without the usual peer pressure, so less stress for her means less for me."
Encouraging your teen to balance the amount of time they spend on their phone with other activities can be challenging, especially if they need to spend more time at home.
Setting rules around your own screen time could help you to promote healthy boundaries.
Try to involve your teen in these discussions. For example, you could ask them how they feel increased screen time might be affecting their wellbeing.
Social media can help your teen to stay connected to friends or partners, but it might also make them feel anxious, worried or upset.
If social media is making them feel like this, you could suggest that they take a break or limit use.
You could also suggest they change what they look at. For example, they might decide to view particular groups or pages but not scroll through timelines or newsfeeds.
"It makes me feel relieved to see that other people are going through the same thing."
If your teen is due to go back to school or college in September, this could be a hard time for them.
Depending on whether they’re in England or Wales, they may need to take regular coronavirus tests, wear masks or follow modified timetables.
In this situation you could:
"My 14-year-old daughter has bailed out of three schools and has hardly had any education for 14 months due to anxiety."
As exam results will now be replaced by teachers' predicted grades in 2022, your teen may be feeling upset or frustrated. Especially if they were also affected by exam cancellations in 2020-21.
Your teen may feel like their revision and studying has been for nothing. Or they may be uninterested in studying further.
You can help them by giving them space to voice their feelings. You could remind them that all young people their age are affected and this will be taken into account. You can also remind them that their education or career will continue after lockdown ends.
"My daughter has been out of college since October 2020 to May 2021... She is unmotivated, suffering with anxiety and depressive bouts that I feel helpless in support with."
This has been a time of greater uncertainty for your teen – their care may have been paused and their daily routines may have had to change a lot.
Now lockdown is being lifted, this may mean their original schedules or care can resume again. And it may mean helping them to understand the new guidance around coronavirus and how to remain safe.
You can find further advice and support from the following:
"I have a younger child with autism I’ve home schooled throughout. The mental impact of worrying about school fines for keeping him home to protect my eldest has been overwhelming."
Depending on whether you’re in England or Wales, your teen may still need to study from home for a period of time in the future. For example, if they or a member of your household test positive for coronavirus.
This could be difficult for them, especially if they’re away from their friends again, or struggle to concentrate or feel motivated at home.
"My husband working from home, home schooling my son and helping my daughter avoid a nervous breakdown due to her home schooling workload has been challenging."
If your teen starts showing behaviours that are worrying for you, it’s important to seek help.
You may be unsure about what types of treatment and support are available at the moment, and how they may have changed
It's important to know that help is still out there.
This is a difficult time, and your teen may need support that they didn't before.
You can discuss this with them and you can ask their GP, or their current mental health team if they have one, if they can access counselling or other support.
For teens who may need support in seeking help for the first time, you can show them our information on finding support.
"I have a teenager at home who really struggled with the first lockdown and as time went by this caused me to feel a lot more anxious and worried for her mental health."
You can contact the service to tell them about your concerns. You can ask if they’re able to arrange face-to-face appointments again or how your teen can access appointments in a different format, such as over the phone or online.
If their mental health support has been stopped, or you cannot contact the service, you can try:
This can be tough for your young person to deal with, as well as yourself. While you’re waiting they can try:
You can look into ordering your teen's repeat prescription online, by app, or over the phone – either through their GP surgery or directly from a registered pharmacist.
If you still need to limit their interactions outside, or they need to self-isolate, you could talk to their pharmacist about home deliveries, or arrange to collect it for them.
“It is a myth that services have closed down and help is not available during the pandemic. We are very open and keen to reach out to people who need our help.”
-Dr Kate Lovett (Psychiatrist working during coronavirus)
"We have spent a lot of time with our two sons, who have both been amazing, and we've learnt a lot about them and ourselves."
This information was last updated on 27 July 2021.
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