POLICY AND COMMUNITY-BASED INTERVENTIONS
Recommendation 11: Maintain or increase financial support to families experiencing hardships due to or exacerbated by the pandemic
Some of our parents were directly affected by the furlough scheme. Although we didn't have any personal money worries, some of our friends in similar predicaments were hugely affected by the scheme which led them to be very anxious about money for necessities. The fear of the unknown was a big problem, not knowing when the furlough was going to end, and if they were still going to have a job after this ‘nightmare’. By contrast, some experiences were very different, especially those of us with parents who are key workers. Nevertheless, we feel this would make a difference, not only to families affected by the pandemic, but also to more low-income families who were already struggling financially for necessities. We feel this recommendation could be supported with additional strategies such as reducing the cost of gas/electric bills and offering training opportunities to upskill which may collectively offer a greater chance of financial stability.
Recommendation 13: Improve links between schools and families as mental health issues in one setting can affect children in the other
Schools play a vital role in promoting students’ mental health and are crucial components for directing children to the right resources effectively. We believe developing positive connections between school staff and parents will be beneficial as the school can work alongside the parents to make an environment where the child feels comfortable to talk about their mental health and assign the right support to them. While some of us believe this relationship would be best placed with teachers that young people already trust and have built a bond with already, we’re also aware that this approach requires training for all teachers followed by a lot of time and tailored support from teachers which is not necessarily realistic.