Those who care for or work with children and young people aged up to 25 will be able to access a new online Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course.
The online course, developed by Public Health England (PHE), offers training on how to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people affected by Covid-19 and other emergencies or crisis situations.
Children and young people can be very resilient, but crises such as Covid-19 can severely impact their mental health. Getting the right support early on can help prevent problems occurring or worsening.
PHE said those completing the training will be equipped to better identify those children that are in distress and provide support to help them feel safe, connected and able to take steps to help themselves during the pandemic or other crisis situations.
It’s available for all frontline workers such as teachers, health and social workers, charity and community volunteers and anyone who cares for or is regularly in contact with children and young people aged up to 25, including parents and caregivers.
It’s free, takes about three hours to complete (split into three sessions that the learner can complete at their own pace) and no previous qualifications are required.
PHE said on completion, participants will have an understanding of what PFA is, be able to identify who would benefit from support and how best to give help across the different age groups and also for those who might need extra support because of different needs.
Clare Perkins, director of the mental health programme at PHE, said: ‘The pandemic has caused significant disruption to all of our daily lives.
‘Children are among the worse impacted, being stuck at home and not able to have the essential social interactions with their friends. Many young people are anxious and worried about their future in these uncertain times.
‘Children and young people will react to the Covid-19 pandemic in different ways.
‘The PFA training course will help professionals, volunteers, parents and carers better identify the signs of those who are struggling and give them timely effective support that is right for them, helping them feel safe and able to help themselves.’
PFA is a globally recognised training programme designed to support people during or in the aftermath of a serious event.
PHE has adapted this training for those supporting children and young people with advice from a range of experts, including NHS England, the Department for Education and the British Red Cross and is being made available online by social learning platform, Future Learn.
Dr Sarah Davidson, head of psychosocial and mental health, British Red Cross, said: ‘This resource from PHE enables a thoughtful, developmentally appropriate response to children and young people who have experienced a crisis.
‘Clear and including helpful links to other resources, it will help people to know how to be supportive whilst avoiding further harm.’
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