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Low Mood

It is normal for everyone to have ups and downs in their mood. Mood can be affected by a range of issues, and it is common to feel low when things are not going well. Sometimes people worry that low mood means they are becoming depressed but that is often not the case. ‘Low’ feelings improve when the stress or worry that is causing it passes.

It is important to normalise when people feel ‘low’ as being a part of life – and help young people develop coping strategies to manage ‘down days.’ However it is also important to be mindful of when additional support might be needed.

When someone is ‘low’ they may feel; sad, anxious, worried, frustrated or angry. These feelings might be overwhelming for a few days but the person can usually distract themselves. They will mostly be able to manage day to day life and it will pass after a week or two.

The signs that this has shifted to depression might be that the child or young person is really struggling to cope with day to day life. They may have lost interest in things they used to enjoy, be withdrawn and low in self worth.

In school you might notice;

  • Lack of concentration, energy or excessive tiredness.
  • Regular complaints of feeling unwell.
  • Disagreements with peers and teachers – and social isolation.

These signs will be persistent and the child or young person’s attendance and studies are likely to suffer.

If you are concerned about any child being mentally unwell then advice should be sought – ideally with the young person’s consent. If you feel the child or young person is a risk to themselves or others you should seek safeguarding advice on your next steps.

 

  • Society is much more tuned in to emotional wellbeing now. This is reflected in the much increased awareness of mental health and wellbeing.

    Communication is the key to helping children and young person reflect on their thoughts and feelings. This can help staff assess their wellbeing and plan the best way to support them.

    If you are concerned about a young person’s mood or behaviour decide who is best placed to talk to them– it may be they have a particularly positive relationship with some staff members.

    • Use open questions (questions that don’t allow for just ‘yes / no’ answers.
    • Listen to their answers carefully and reflect back what you think they have said.
    • Use ‘feeling words; when you summarise what they have told you ‘It sounds to me like you are really sad your Gran is ill - and cross that your Mum won’t let you visit her.’
    • Think through some ‘actions’ they could try to help them feel better; ‘when you are feeling sad what do you think might help?’
    • Make a plan with the child/ young person about what you will both do next.

    There are practical suggestions that can help with low mood;

    • Spend time with supportive family and friends.
    • Get some exercise.
    • Practice relaxation techniques.
    • Eat regularly and healthily & keep hydrated.

    Establishing whether a child is struggling with low mood or depression is important and may not be immediately clear. Make plans to review how they are feeling. Help them to think where they might seek more support both in and out of school.

  • The CARE animation is a short animation for all school and college staff that recognises the importance of supporting children and young people’s mental health in schools and colleges, and offers a simple principle for staff to remember; CARE. (Curious, Approachable, Refer, Empathy).  It is aimed at all School staff, including support staff and those who may not have direct contact with pupils. The animation can be used in one of the following ways:

    1. On a staff training day. 
    2. In a staff briefing or team meeting.
    3. Send the animation and resources out in a staff bulletin.

    You can watch the CARE animation and download the accompanying guidance and poster at www.annafreud.org/careanimation.

    'All Our Health' free, bite-sized e-learning sessions (Public Health England) - to improve the knowledge, confidence and skills of health and care professionals in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing.

    The sessions cover some of the biggest issues in public health including;

    • Childhood obesity 
    • Pollution
    • Alcohol misuse
    • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

    They contain signposting to trusted sources of helpful evidence, guidance and support to help professionals embed prevention in their everyday practice.

    Shelf Help:

    • Am I Depressed and what can I do About it? - Shirley Reynolds & Monika Parkinson.
    • Can I tell you about Depression? - Christopher Dowrick & Susan Martin.
    • I Had a Black Dog - Matthew Johnstone.
    • Mind Your Head - Juno Dawson.

     

     

How Can We Help?

Just One Number Call to speak to a health professional by phoning 0300 300 0123. They will be able to provide initial advice and support and guide next steps with us or signpost you to other more relevant agencies and professionals. It is available 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays.

Referrals for support are made by contacting Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Please make sure you have the consent of the parent and / or young person before you make a referral to us. You do not need to fill out any paperwork prior to this call.

Referrals are made via the telephone to enable us to have an informative conversation with you at the point of referral so we can ensure we have all the required information for early triage and assessment of the child, young person or family. This will ensure the referral gets managed by the appropriate team in a more timely way or we can signpost you to a more appropriate service.

ChatHealth Children and Young people can access us through our text messaging service on 07480635060. They will be able to discuss any health concerns with one of our Practitioners and also be able to request an appointment if they would prefer to meet with us.

Parent Line Parents can access our services by texting our number 07520631590 . This allows them to access the advice and support from a clinician about any health issues affecting their children aged 0-19.

Just One Norfolk Health Passport app Young people age 16-19 can download this app on Apple or Android phones. It provides young people age 16-19 with general health information and advice to increase health literacy. It signposts to services and promotes self care. It aims to increase resilience and wellbeing and to find out how to access health services.

Health Unlocked Parents can be signposted to this. It is a carefully monitored online community forum which allows local parents and carers to talk with each other regarding issues affecting their children. This can be accessed through our Just One Norfolk website.

Solihull Parenting Online For our Norfolk parents there is the opportunity to access this free of charge through Just One Norfolk. It supports parents in understanding their children from 0-19 via 4 modules. Staff working with children and families will also benefit from this – or they can book to do the two day Solihull Training provided by our service by contacting karin.bibby@nhs.net. While COVID-19 restrictions are in place please contact Karin Bibby to register your interest in virtual training as this becomes available.

Helpful Pages to Share with Families

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