Free psychological training launched for those supporting children and young people

The new online course will offer training on how to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people affected by crisis situations and emergencies.

24/02/21

Free psychological training launched for those supporting children and young people

A new online training course for people who care for or work with children and young people aged up to 25 who have been affected by COVID-19 and other emergencies or individual crises has been launched.

Developed by Public Health England (PHE), the new Psychological First Aid training will be available to all frontline workers such as teachers, health and social care professionals, charity and community volunteers, as well as parents and carers.

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.

The free course will take around three hours to complete and will be split into three separate sections that the user can complete at their own pace.

No previous qualifications are required to take the training.

Upon completion of the course participants will be able to define psychological first aid, identify where it can be used, describe how children and young people of different ages react to traumatic experiences, and understand of role of self-care methods during a crisis.

The new training comes amid recent warnings from sector bodies around the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of children and young people.

An NHS report released in October 2020 showed an increase in prevalence of mental health conditions amongst children, rising from 1 in 9 children to 1 in 6, whilst a report from the Centre for Mental Health predicted that half a million more children will require mental health support due to the impact of the pandemic.

In addition, the Children’s Commissioner revealed in January that only 1 in 4 children in need of mental health support had access to the right services, whilst President of the Royal Collage of Psychiatrists Dr Adrian James recently declared that COVID-19 poses the “greatest threat to mental health since the second world war.”

Speaking on the launch of the new training course, Director of the Mental Health Programme at PHE Clare Perkins highlighted how support was needed to help children and young people to deal with the effects of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has caused significant disruption to all of our daily lives,” said Perkins.
“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.”

Dr Sarah Davidson, Head of Psychosocial and Mental Health, British Red Cross, welcomed the new training course and 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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