This document has been produced by Balerno High School and useful for all
We understand this will be a stressful time for you and your family. We hope the contacts below will be able to assist you and your families if you need it. Please also remember you can contact us via email or through Teams and we will do our best to get back to you as quickly as we can. All pupils have now been added to their year group specific area on Teams, e.g. S1 PSE. This will allow us to send links, tasks and group conversations. There is also the ability to message your guidance teacher or Mrs Kujawa on this. Please use responsibly – a code of conduct is provided on each year groups page.
In addition to the below information please continue to follow all NHS and Government advice and keep washing your hands to your chosen song from tutor!!!
We will miss working with you face to face but are currently developing online resources to use on Teams.
Balerno Support Team 😊
General support for you and your family
Health & Wellbeing
NHS – http://www.scot.nhs.uk NHS 24- 111 (to be used if the web cannot support your query, condition is worsening or you do not have access to the internet)
Supporting Mental Health- https://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk
Health Opportunities Team- happy to take new referrals from any Balerno HS students if you are struggling with wellbeing over this period. The team will be working online & over the phone only. Email – email@example.com
Childline- can help signpost you to appropriate support, offer online & phone support – 0800 1111, https://www.childline.org.uk
Parentline- for parents & carers who may need extra support over this time- https://www.children1st.org.uk/
Headspace App- good for supporting guided relaxation, many students will have experience of using this in PSE classes
Age Scotland helpline – support for older members of your family – 0800 121 4222
If you or a member of your family are at risk from domestic abuse, addiction or violence in the household you should contact Social Care Direct – Edinburgh: 0131 200 2327 or West Lothian – 01506 284 440
Samaritans – 116 123 / firstname.lastname@example.org
*** There are sanitary products available in guidance for any families who need these. Please ensure you take what you and your family need until Summer as we do not know when we will be back***
Financial support & benefits
The council are currently working on a strategy to ensure young people entitled to free school meals get access to these. The school will keep you updated.
Advice on benefits, societal issues, support with finances – Citizens Advice Bureau
- West Lothian: 01506 432 977 – https://www.cas.org.uk/bureaux/citizens-advice-bureau-west-lothian
- Edinburgh: 0131 510 5510 – https://www.citizensadviceedinburgh.org.uk/
- Broomhouse Centre – 0131 455 7731/ email@example.com
- Edinburgh Young Carers – 0131 475 2322
- Edinburgh Woman’s Aid – 07624809910 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Interpretation Services – 0131 242 8181 / email@example.com
- CEC Homeless 16 – 18 Year Olds – 0131 529 7355 – Connor Robertson
Information on Covid-19 –
Young Scot – Information and guides – http://young.scot.
BBC Newsround – continuing to offer their daily broadcast which is worth watching https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround
- Broomhouse One Stop – 0131 443 6223
- Monday to Thursday: 9.00 am to 3.00 pm
- Wednesday Evening: 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm
- Friday: 9.00 am to 12.00 pm
- Saturday: Closed
- Sunday: Closed
Currie Chieftains Rugby Club are also taking donations and using these to provide an emergency foodbank, further details available on Facebook page- ‘Balerno Cares’ and on @chieftainsRC
If you are planning to leave school at the end of this academic year (May 2020) then you can call Skills Development Scotland on 0131 718 2040 to arrange a 1-1 interview on the phone.
Local support available in our community
Below are some of the supports we are aware of in our local community, we are sure there will be many more – please do make us aware of any initiatives you are aware of and we can share these widely.
- ‘Balerno Cares’ Facebook page offering support to those in need in the community, has been set up specifically to support during Covid-19 outbreak
- The Mill Café at St Josephs are offering a take-away soup service Monday – Friday, there is no payment but if you can, donations are being taken in cash or using contactless. People are also being encouraged to take soup away for their neighbours who may need it.
- Pharmacy – 0131 449 5477 (please do not go in if showing symptoms of Covid-19).
- The Balerno Inn is offering a take-away and delivery service (13.00- 20.30) with special take-away prices.
- ‘Ratho Village Community’ Facebook page offering support to those in need in the community, there is also a new ‘Lend a Hand’ Facebook page if anyone needs anything or can help others.
- Pharmacy – 0131 333 1397 (please do not go in if showing symptoms of Covid-19).
- The Bridge Inn is offering a take-away service (times TBC)
- Café No. 77 is also doing a take-away service
- The main source of information is kirknewton.info that feeds into all social media like facebook, twitter and instagram
- Festival Stores- able to support & signpost for any vulnerable community members- 01506 885 331
- Kirknewton Community Development Trust for volunteering opportunities and senior citizen support- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pharmacy – 01506 885 331- (please do not go in if showing symptoms of Covid-19).
Support for children and families during school closure– A psychological perspective
It is important to recognise the impact that the school closures will have on families. The prospect of entertaining and educating children for an unknown period of time, will probably seem overwhelming and daunting to most of us. This is a normal response to have and one that will shift as we begin to adapt to our new situation. The good news is that humans are built to adapt. We are good at it and it happens automatically.
However, there are strategies that you can put in place to help the current situation. Obviously, every family is different and will have different needs, but evidence shows us that certain approaches in times of difficulty can support us to do better.
It is important to understand how important routine is to children and families and putting one in place from the start will act to preserve mental health and promote family relationships. Creating a daily routine can allow time, space, challenge and a feeling of achievement. This can be created by thinking about different categories that might appeal to family members e.g. being active, academic time, project time, new skill to learn, connecting with people, cooking/baking, chores, getting outside, family time, quiet time, alone time, creative time, gardening, jobs to be done around the house, relaxation time, screen time etc and then making lists of specific activities under each category. Each evening, a family routine for the day can be devised using these lists and this will also support parents who are trying to work from home with children. To support this, there are hundreds of ideas online and lots of fabulous people offering online museum tours, PE lessons, doodle sessions etc. You can also help each other through the Teams groups by sharing any great tips or ideas. Younger children will have a natural need to move more than adults, so planning something high energy near the start of your daily routine, should see the day feeling a bit easier overall.
It is also helpful to plan for doing things with different family members at different times and this will give people a break from each other and support positive relationships. Some alone time will also be key! Keeping the routine varied is a protective factor for everyone. Getting outside for walks every day will be hugely supportive as we live in a green city, with lots of fabulous walks. Nature will remain around us, unchanging, which will be hugely reassuring at a time of significant change. A routine will also support good eating and sleep routines, promoting our overall health. Finally, summarising what has been done each day by each person and writing it down, will give a sense of achievement and purpose, which are great supporters of mental wellbeing.
Connection and Belonging
With schools closing for face to face teaching, children will have reduced contact with wider family and peers. This can begin to feel isolating over time. Therefore, it can be helpful to be proactive. Set up face to face online chats/groups with loved ones and friends and schedule some time for talk and connect each day. Try to talk about things other than the Coronavirus and work to cheer each other up.
Balerno High School will be providing online resources to ensure young people can continue to progress with their academic studies. The Support Team are also available to support any individuals or families who need support. Please do not be afraid to use us, or any of the contacts above.
In this unprecedented time, this is a time to connect with our local communities. Trying to be a helper and having contact with other helpers, with a common goal, supports our children to become responsible and compassionate citizens and will also develop their own sense of self and worth.
Try to take a break from the news and social media. The amount of information on Coronavirus is overwhelming (2.2 billion reports in three months!) and will trigger anxiety for most people. Giving yourself a limited amount of time each day (if possible), to check for factual updates and then distracting yourself with something more fun and enjoyable, will be supportive of mental health, long term. This will also impact on how you present to your children and in turn, will act as a protective factor for them. With older children, it might be necessary to put parameters around their access to social media and the news. School is a six-hour distraction each day and without that, some young people can become increasingly absorbed in their phones and screens. They may need adults to put in restrictions for them.
Kindness and compassion
At times when people are anxious and uncertain, it is important that we try to increase our levels of kindness and compassion towards others (including our own family members). Everyone is having their own experience, and everyone is doing their best to manage what is going on for them and their families. By building schools and communities of caring and helping people, we will override some of the fear and worry that we are feeling and get through this together, with better outcomes for all.
While everyone is at home for a long period, relationships can become strained and taking the pressure off yourself and others can be supportive. If things are not going to plan, take a break and do something relaxing. Allow children to do the same and be kind to yourself if everything falls apart for a bit. It will happen to us all.
Change and loss
The impact of the Coronavirus and the subsequent changes required of societal behaviours and school closures represents significant change and loss for people (jobs, events, seeing friends, routines, hobbies, etc). This may result in a grief response in adults and children. This is normal and common. The grief process is cyclical, rather than linear and people will naturally move in and out of their grief as they adapt to and process different parts of a loss or change.
There are ways that you can manage this to best support yourself and your family. By acknowledging your pain and being kind to yourself around the emotional responses that you have, you will not suppress how you are feeling and feel more empowered. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Give yourself time – a grief response cannot be rushed through. Talk to people who care about you. Hug your family. Remember that this will get easier with time. You can also provide these supports for your child, if they are experiencing a grief response to not physically going to school. This may be especially true if the traditions and rituals of the end of term (and for older ones the end of their school careers) cannot take place. They may appear as more emotional or dysregulated, for no apparent reason and this may be their way of expressing their grief. The strategies mentioned throughout this document will also be supportive in providing times of happiness and distraction and helping to support good mental health.
We always say, ‘if only I had more time’. We do now. This is the time to try and do things a bit differently. We can slow down a bit, have family meals, take up mindfulness, read more. It is important for adults to try and find the positives in what is a very difficult situation and try to ‘grow’ these. If we can get something positive out of the situation, we feel like we have achieved, and we feel better. This will translate to our children as they will pick up on our emotional states. Our mindsets will also influence the way that we support our children, while modelling how to approach difficult situations and subsequently develop their own resilience.
The below ‘Coping Calendar’ gives some ideas of activities that may help us all cope better during this time-
Support for Young People with existing mental health concerns or neurodiversity-
Some children and young people may already have difficulties with their mental health and are already receiving treatment from services.
They may become extremely anxious about COVID-19 and may develop new or more severe anxiety symptoms e.g. feel the need to wash their hands compulsively, struggle to get to sleep or experience panic symptoms.
It is really important that they are helped to use any coping strategies they may have already developed through work with counsellors, clinicians or others who support them like relaxation exercises, distraction or use of a worry box etc.
If they are taking prescribed medicine, it is important that they continue to take this regularly as prescribed and that repeat prescriptions are arranged well in advance.
If they are attending Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) or another support service, the clinicians or professionals they see may arrange to speak to them over the telephone or through a secure conference call instead of bringing them into clinics.
If their usual clinician is on leave or is deployed to another service, there may be arrangements for cover from other people in the service.
Parents or carers who are worried about their child’s mental health should contact their clinic directly for advice, rather than presenting with their child to an A and E department.
Many organisations are developing information and resources specifically for people who are living with specific mental illnesses.
It is important that they are given clear information about COVID-19 in an accessible way which emphasises that although any of us may become ill, they are not expected to become very sick and they might not even notice that they have the infection.
Parents and carers will know best what helps their children when they are worried and trying to keep them busy and active as much as possible is best.
Relaxation and self-soothing strategies are useful and trying to make the change in routine, and the need for frequent hand washing, fun might be difficult but can bring down anxiety levels.
Beat, the eating disorder charity have a page on Covid-19 https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/coronavirus and are also running a new support group “The Sanctuary” every day to support those with eating disorders.
OCD UK have also put together information and advice for people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-coronavirus-summary
Hand washing tips for people with sensory difficulties –