We understand that you might be feeling anxious or overwhelmed about coronavirus (COVID-19). That’s completely normal, many of us are feeling the same way and you are not alone.
So, with this in mind, we’ve pulled together a big list of useful information and guidance to help you through the outbreak:
- Keeping in touch
- I’m worried, who can I contact?
- How will coronavirus effect the care or support I receive?
- What about school, college or university?
- How will this affect my work or benefits?
- I feel fine, what should I be doing?
- I feel unwell, what should I do?
- Someone I live with feels unwell, what should I do?
- What happens when I’ve finished self-isolating?
- Where can I find out more about coronavirus?
- Our top tips
The information that we’ve put together on this page is relevant to children in care and care leavers. For further guidance on coronavirus and the latest information on the situation in Devon, visit Devon County Council’s coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page.
We will continue to contact you, as we usually do, but this contact can be more regular if you want it to be. Just let us know.
Our Participation Team will also be using different online platforms to stay in contact with you, either individually or in groups. They’re planning to hold several virtual sessions a week, so if you want to find out when these are taking place and how to join, contact them via Instagram or Twitter, or get in touch with your locality participation worker directly. You can find their contact details, and a little bit more about them, on your Stand Up Speak Up website.
Don’t worry, we’re here. If you have any question or need advice and support, please contact your personal advisor or social worker, or speak to the duty worker.
- Here are the duty team contact numbers:
- North Devon – 07790 770713
- Mid and East Devon – 01392 384134
- Exeter – 07581 156261
- South Devon – 01392 384797
If you can’t contact them, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can contact Kooth for free, safe and anonymous online support and counselling. Meanwhile, Adopt South West have pulled together a list of helpful resources on their Facebook page and have lots of useful information and updates on their website.
The Nurses in the ‘Children in Care & Care Leavers team’ are very happy for you to contact them too for telephone support and signposting. You can reach them via the Single Point of Access telephone number: 03300 24532, just ask for a Child in Care Nurse. Or you can email email@example.com.
Other support for your mental health and wellbeing
Devon’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are offering additional 24/7 telephone support. Please contact 03300 245 321 during normal hours (8am-5pm, Mon to Fri) or 0300 555 5000 outside these hours.
Young Devon provide information, advice and counselling for children and young people over 11. If you need to talk to someone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone already receiving support through Young Devon’s Wellbeing service should email email@example.com or call 07935364652 and leave a message with your name and contact details.
The ChatHeath text line allows young people aged 11-19 a place to talk completely confidentially with a school nurse about any worries or concerns they may have. Text 07520631722.
Young Minds have a range of help and advice, including guide for parent’s on how to support your child during the coronavirus pandemic and advice for young people about how they can look after their own mental health.
Meanwhile, the NHS Every Mind Matters website has tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus and how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home – you can even make your own Mind Plan.
The NHS has also produced a mood self-assessment tool to help you better understand how you’ve been feeling. And if you become aware that you would like to talk about how you are feeling, mental health helplines can provide support.
We don’t know yet how many people will become ill as a result of coronavirus, but it might mean that the usual professionals supporting you, such as your social workers or personal adviser, are less available than normal if they’re unwell. This means that you might have to speak to another member of the team, and things might take a little bit longer than normal.
It’s likely that your regular family time or contact and meetings you had scheduled with the professionals supporting you are disrupted, need to be rescheduled or are temporarily carried out by phone or video calls like Skype rather than face-to-face.
However, remember that these difficulties will be temporary as people recover. Those supporting and caring for you will be doing their best to make sure you get the help you need. If you’re really worried about a particular problem and you don’t feel you’re getting enough support, talk to us.
Schools, colleges and universities have closed to most pupils, but your carers, social worker, teachers and staff from the Virtual School are all working hard to make sure your education continues in some way. You can read more about changes to Personal Education Plans here.
Some children can continue going to school if they need to - including children in care and those who receive support from social workers, and pupils with parents who do specific jobs, known as critical workers.
For others, this might mean you start learning at home for a while, with the help of the adults who support you.
Some schools might be reopening on 1st June. How and when schools will be able to do this will vary depending on their situation. When they are in a position to do so, each school will provide information on their website and in newsletters so that the adults who support you will know exactly when the school will be able to once again offer you a place.
You might feel quite lonely without school, college or university to go to, so please stay in touch by phone with friends, your Students’ Union and student support staff for advice.
The government has asked universities and colleges to make sure that care leavers get the support they need during the coronavirus outbreak. This should include guaranteed access to appropriate accommodation, continued access to financial support, access for a named contact and access to student support services.
The Government advice is that if you can work from home, you should, but this isn’t possible for everyone. You might be worried about being able to continue working or accessing benefits if you can’t work. The Government has announced new plans to make it easier for people to claim sick pay and get benefits, and there’s lots of good advice online.
Here are some useful links:
- Check if you can get statutory sick pay (SSP)
- Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit
- Check if you’re eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Employers can apply for staff to get up to 80% pay if they can’t work
- Financial help if you’re self-employed
- Get an isolation note to give to your employer
- Your rights if your hours are cut or you’re laid off
- What to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time
- Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses (gov.uk)
- COVID-19: guidance for employees (gov.uk)
- Coronavirus – what it means for you (Citizens Advice)
- Coronavirus and claiming benefits (Understanding Universal Credit)
It’s important that everyone follows the latest guidelines from the NHS on coronavirus and staying at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Everyone should stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives; this includes people of all ages, even if you are young and even if you feel fine and do not have any symptoms.
You should only go outside to get essential things like food and medicine, for exercise once a day and to travel to work if you can’t work from home.
If you do have to go out, make sure you stay 2 metres away from other people and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get home. Also try not to touch your face. If the virus is on your hands, this is how it can travel into your body.
You should not be meeting up with friends, or anyone who doesn’t live with you. That includes having people over to your house or visiting other people’s houses. We can only speak to friends on the phone or on social media. This might feel boring, but this is the best way to keep everyone safe.
Some people are ignoring this advice and still going outside, which is dangerous as they could be spreading the virus even if they are feeling ok. This means more people get sick and the hospitals get even busier.
The Government has told the police to ask people why they are out. The police can now give a fine to anyone they see outside in a group.
Please tell whoever is supporting you, such as your personal adviser or social worker (e.g. by phone, text or however you would normally contact them outside of face-to-face meetings), if you are unwell or self-isolating as soon as possible so we can come up with a plan to best support you.
If someone you live with has any of the coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear. If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.
If you get symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you’re self-isolating for longer than 14 days. If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.
You still need to stay at home when you finish self-isolating and follow the latest guidelines from the NHS to help stop the spread of coronavirus, but you can go out for essential trips such as getting food and medicine.
It’s important you make sure you are using trusted sources of information. Just because a story appears online, doesn’t make it true. The internet is great, but it can also be used to spread disinformation in the form of misleading news and content. Make sure you stick to trusted sources of information, and before you like, comment or share online, use the SHARE checklist to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of harmful content.
- The Stand Up Speak Up website has information for children in care and care leavers in Devon. And don’t forget to check our Instagram and Twitter feeds too.
- The latest information from Devon County Council is on their website. You can also sign up to receive regular updates on their response to the coronavirus outbreak
- The latest Government advice is on their website
- Government coronvirus outbreak FAQs – what you can and can’t do
- The latest NHS advice is on their website
The coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak is impacting everyone’s daily lives, especially since the Government has asked everyone to stay at home to help manage the outbreak.
You’ll probably feel a bit bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. Everyone reacts differently and the way that we think, feel and behave can vary over time. It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it.
The Government has some useful guidance on how to maintain your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
The NHS also has some useful information, advice and resources for looking after your mental health on their Every Mind Matters website. They also have an online fitness studio with videos of exercises you can do at home.
Young Minds have some good advice about what to do if you’re anxious about coronavirus.
Take a break from the news of social media – It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed by what you read, see and hear, so it’s a good idea to limit the amount of time you spend scrolling. Stick with trusted sources for information.
Talk to people – Keeping in touch with people you trust is important. You won’t be able to meet in person but make some time to catch up with friends and loved ones via phone, video calls or social media. Reducing physical contact doesn’t have to mean reducing social contact.
Share how you’re feeling – It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling can help. If you don’t feel able to talk to friends or family, speak to your personal adviser or social worker or contact one of the NHS recommended helplines.
Stay active – Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. It’s tempting to watch boxsets and eat junk food, but this can actually make you feel worse! Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day, and always make sure you keep 2 metres away from other people.
Do things you enjoy – Focusing on your favourite hobby, doing something new or simply taking time to relax at home can really boost your mood.
Make a plan – If you do find yourself with symptoms, or if someone else you live with develops symptoms, then you’ll need to stay at home for a short while. You can help reduce any worry by planning for this now – you might want to chat with the professionals supporting you about things like food shopping or setting up somewhere for you to work or study.
Get some sleep – Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.
And finally, keep in touch – we are here for you. If you think you would like some extra help, advice or support, even if it’s just a chat, let us know. We are here for you. Either get in contact with your personal adviser or social worker in the usual way or call the duty worker.