It is hard to believe that we are already at the Christmas holidays, in what has been an exceptionally busy year. I just wanted to keep you all updated with some information which is designed to help keep your young people safe. We know Christmas is a difficult time for many and we are aware of the effect that this year has had on some young people. The number of safeguardings in this term alone have been much higher than we would normally expect across all age groups and all areas and this is probably a result of the isolation experienced by young people and families during the pandemic .
With that in mind we would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to advertise the following links on your website and perhaps to your own staff so that young people and adults can access support when the school counselling service is shut over the Christmas holidays.
Lifeline helpline | Lifeline: Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service
Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. No matter what your age or where you live in Northern Ireland, if you are or someone you know is in distress or despair, Lifeline is here to help.
This service is available to anyone, including young people 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
If parents are concerned about a crisis mental health situation, they can take their child to A & E, or can speak to their local GP for advice in the first instance.
We are aware that some young people who are distressed are awaiting an appointment from CAMHS. If a young person's mental health worsens whilst on the CAMHS waiting list parents should telephone their local CAMHS and speak to them about this.
We are posting additional mental health information advice and support on the Familyworks website, on Facebook and Instagram on the 23rd of December and before the New Year as well.
It is hard to guess what January holds for us all, but we look forward to a future where hopes are realised for our young people, for the staff who care for them, and for our wider society. We have contingency plans for several eventualities in the New Year so we will work alongside our schools to do our very best for you all.
We wish you a good rest over the holidays and a happy and healthy new year.