Covid19 Advice – Children and young people who are accessing mental health services

Children and young people with an existing mental health problem may find the current uncertainty around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak particularly difficult. Their increased stress may lead to a change in their behaviours and their mental health needs. If you are concerned about how to access support if they need to stay at home, you may want to think about the following actions:

Speak to your child or young person’s mental health team

Contact your child or young person’s mental health team to discuss any concerns and check how care will continue to be accessed while you are at home. Update any safety and care plans as agreed.

Identify how the support your child or young person normally receives can be maintained

Ask about having appointments by phone, text or online, and how their health professional can offer extra support if your child or young person needs it.

If you usually have support in your home, check who you would need to contact in your local authority to let them know you’re staying at home. Make sure it is clear if support is still needed for your child or young person.

If your child or young person has been admitted to an inpatient mental health unit, talk to the staff about their policies on access to cell phones and think about how you can stay in contact, particularly if you have to stay at home. Ask the unit if you could participate in a ‘virtual ward round’ so you can keep in touch with your child and/or young person’s mental health team. If you need to stay at home this will also impact on whether your child or young person can come home on leave, so talk to your child or young person about what might happen so they are fully informed.

If your child or young person becomes affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) they will need to be cared for appropriately, so talk to the unit about what plans are in place should this happen and how best to communicate these to your child or young person.

Plan how you will access medication

You might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone. Or you may be able to do this online using an app or website, if your doctor’s surgery offers this.

Ask your pharmacy about getting medication delivered or think about who you could ask to collect it for you. The NHS website has more information about getting prescriptions for someone else and checking if you have to pay for prescriptions.

Continue to order repeat prescriptions in your usual timeframe. There is no need to order for a longer duration or larger quantities.

Your GP might convert your child or young person’s repeat prescription to one that is supplied under the repeat dispensing arrangements, this means you can go back to the pharmacy for a certain number of repeats without having to get a repeat prescription from the practice.

Be careful about buying medication online. You should only buy from registered pharmacies. You can check if a pharmacy is registered on the General Pharmaceutical Council website.

You might also want to make arrangements for your child or young person if you become unwell, for example making sure a partner, friend, family member or neighbour is aware of important information including their care plan, medications and emergency numbers.