NHS Lanarkshire launches online courses to help parents support anxious children

NHS Lanarkshire has released two new free online courses to help parents support children and teenagers during these difficult times.

The programs use proven approaches to help parents, guardians and teachers support children and young people struggling with anxiety. Both can be viewed by self-reference.

Delivered with support from Lanarkshire partner SilverCloud, the Supporting an Anxious Child and Supporting an Anxious Teen courses are available on the Lanarkshire Mind Matters website.

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The Supporting an Anxious Child course is designed to help children aged 4-11 and explores ways to deal with anxious thoughts and feelings, helping children deal with their fears.

The eight-part course includes activities, quizzes, relaxation techniques and ways to build self-esteem.

The Supporting an Anxious Teen course for 12-18 year olds is designed to give parents and guardians the skills and confidence they need to support teenagers.

It covers different ways of looking at anxiety; how to help young people understand their complex feelings; how to support and empower them to cope with common difficulties such as worry and low self-esteem; and problem-solving skills they can use now and in the future.

Consultant clinical psychologist Dr Simon Stuart is also the digital lead for psychological services at NHS Lanarkshire.

He told Lanarkshire Live: “These are really difficult times and it’s completely normal to feel anxious.

“We have all been through two years of a pandemic, which is still going on, and the current conflict in Ukraine very naturally creates a lot of worry and uncertainty for people.

“Children and teenagers understand all of this and it can be very distressing for them.

“These classes are designed to help adults support children and young people, encouraging them to discuss how they feel so they can overcome their fears.

“The programs are rooted in approaches that are both powerful and caring. Because they are online, they can be viewed at any time so families can browse them at their own pace.

“A key feature of the courses is learning the useless patterns – what we think and then what we do in response – that we can all fall into.

“They teach new skills that kids, teens, and adults can practice day-to-day, and offer simple, effective tools that can make things easier.”

SilverCloud for Helping Teens and Children courses can be accessed through the website.

Anyone in need of emergency mental health help should call 999. If it is not an emergency, call NHS 24 on 111 or make an appointment to speak to their GP .

They can also find help online, or you can call Samaritans on 116123 or Breathing Space on 0800 838587.

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Karen O. Fielding