We are keen to make families aware that if they have a problem they should contact the school where they will be put in touch with one of the pastoral team. They can also contact a number of outside agencies. A list of numbers was provided in March.
The NSPCC are also offering tips for online safety and in particular social media. (NetAware)
Community Helpline for Covid-19
The Covid-19 Community Helpline went live on Friday 27 March and operates 9am to 5pm, 7 days per week initially, although this will be kept under review and the service can be increased if necessary. The Helpline has been taking calls from members of the public who need advice and support relating to the COVID 19 emergency, initially linking people into local services.
Some of the services which can be accessed via the helpline include: delivery of food parcels to vulnerable people including those in the shielded group who have no other way to access food deliveries; information about retailers offering delivery in a local area; help from the voluntary and community sector to deliver prescription medication and advice on claiming benefits. Advice NI have put in place a detailed directory of community and voluntary organisations at both a local and regional level covering everything from domestic abuse, to mental health to local sports groups willing to walk dogs for vulnerable people. Helpline staff will provide a warm handoff to the relevant service if they are unable to deal with a query themselves, and are aware of the need for a warm handoff to the Nexus service if a caller reports domestic abuse during the course of the conversation.
The helpline is for vulnerable people who have no other method of accessing support. If a vulnerable person already has sufficient support in place, either from family and friends or from a voluntary organisation then they should continue to rely on that in the first instance.
On the question of whether representatives could call the helpline on someone’s behalf the answer is yes, as long as the person has given permission to the representative to share their details and act on their behalf.
The Helpline service also offers e-mail and text message response facility.
Telephone: 0808 802 0020
Text: ACTION to 81025
Family Works Counselling for Post Primary pupils
In the light of the current health situation and school closures we are very pleased to be able to offer a continuation of the Independent Counselling Service (ICSS) for schools via the medium of online or telephone counselling.
We recognise that this is an unprecedented situation, but we are fully committed to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of our pupils. These are unusual times and this brings unusual stressors on young people and their families. There many be anxiety about what will happen in the future, personal health or the health of loved ones. There may be grief over the loss of friendships, routine or people. We want to give a response that is supportive and safe for our young people who are the future of our world. With that in mind let me tell you about the online service
This is a confidential service for young people who would normally attend school from the ages of 11-18. So every year group in your school, even those would leave school this year can still use it. It happens on the same day and time as counselling is usually delivered in school. In Ceara this is a Thursday morning .
If your young person is already receiving counselling you don’t need to do anything. This will continue via telephone or online. The school counsellor will be in contact with them in a few days.
If you have a young person who wants to refer themselves into the ICSS this can be done through the Familyworks website. The address is www.familyworksni.com . You can also refer your young person to the service but you should get their permission to do so first. You can do this by just asking them privately how they might feel about speaking to the school counsellor. It can help to make sure the young person has a quite space to talk to the counsellor away from the rest of the family. There is a button on the website for parents and school staff to refer.
Ceara Parents need to make the referral for their son/daughter
The service will be delivered to the same standard as in school and will work under the school’s child protection policy so your young person will be kept safe.
Finally if your young person is already receiving help from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) that help should continue during this crisis so encourage them to engage with that help. If you feel that your young person is thinking about self-harm or suicide please consult your GP or they can call the lifeline number on 0808 808 8000, or for those who are deaf or hard of hearing 18001 0808 808 8000.
Keep well and keep safe,
Due to circumstances beyond control we have a new counsellor in Ceara
She is called Donna Beatty.
Donna will be in touch with the parents of pupils who were accessing Counselling in school and seeking to support them in the home during this time.
This may be over the telephone or on-line if this is possible.