Counsellors Corner Blog #1: COVID-19 student wellbeing considerations
Schools are currently facing unprecedented territory both academically and pastorally. Schools are at the forefront of supporting the most vulnerable children, young people and families through a complex and uncertain time.
As a clinician, I have worked with a diverse range of children, young people and families over the past ten years. The COVID-19 pandemic is unchartered territory that brings a host of considerations which need to be planned, considered and implemented quickly.
One of the many considerations currently, is the management of student wellbeing across whole school communities. Engaging students at risk and those who may emerge with a mental health difficulty is vital to ensuring connection to learning and keeping a mentally fit school community. If we put student wellbeing at the forefront of everything we do, we will have children and young people who emerge with resilience and a toolbox of skills that will assist them to thrive, not only through this time but for life.
I believe schools need to consider the following points when supporting student’s wellbeing during what could be remote connections:
Student Wellbeing/Counselling plan: How will you connect with students? What does it look like? Is it meaningful so we do our best to ensue no child or young person falls through the cracks?
Consider triaging/allocating students based on level of risk (Low, Medium, High) and mental health difficulties, family complexity and those that need connection and support to thrive in an uncertain environment.
Consider who is best to contact students and families based on relationships (if possible). Connection with someone where there is an existing positive relationship will assist messages of support to resonate and make the connection meaningful. This connection will assist honest conversations and to gather information to ensure a greater understanding of what the child or young person needs support with ie: academic concerns, mental health.
What systems of communication will you be using? Schools are now currently using and considering a diverse rage of platforms that will assist communication and documentation. Questions to consider is data security, best practice documentation and gathering data by using survey tools that will assist to understand your whole school community
Ensuring your site has policy, procedures and pathways for concerns (assessment and response flowcharts) based on risk assessments is vital to consider at this time. It is important t have measures in place if a situation becomes high risk and ensure an understanding of where the student and/or family needs to be referred.
I hope you got some take always from this blog! Please feel free to connect via email: [email protected]
Look after yourselves!