Barnardo’s launches counselling and wellbeing services for families struggling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wales
Children’s charity Barnardo’s has launched two new services to support vulnerable families who are struggling to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
See, Hear, Respond will work with families across Wales, offering practical and therapeutic support including counselling seven days a week. The aim is to help those facing a wide range of challenges, from anxiety, loneliness and isolation to children struggling with a return to school and parents worried about relationship breakdowns or poverty.
The second will be a UK-wide helpline, the first of its kind specifically for children from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities who are among those who have been most badly affected. Families from anywhere in Wales can access the services.
Both are being funded through the National Emergencies Trust with finance from the insurance and long-term savings industry.
The national helpline for Black, Asian and minority ethnic children will tackle the particularly complex issues facing those communities and therapeutic support will be offered where needed.
Sarah Crawley, Director of Barnardo’s Cymru, said both services would identify and support “hidden” children, young people and families who were not currently receiving the help they needed.
She said: “Our most vulnerable communities are facing serious challenges to their mental health and wellbeing alongside their physical health. Those challenges include anxiety, isolation, family breakdown and financial worries as more families fall into poverty.
“These new services will provide the help they need to overcome their challenges and prevent problems escalating to crisis levels. We will be providing a mix of signposting support and advice alongside online or telephone therapeutic support including counselling.”
The aim is to improve families’ resilience and emotional and mental wellbeing, strengthen relationships and help them with any necessary lifestyle changes.
Families will be signposted to specialist or statutory services if there are significant mental health or safeguarding concerns.
Families can self-refer online or through a telephone helpline available from noon until 7pm, Monday to Friday, or be referred by professionals. Barnardo’s will work closely with schools and colleges, local authorities, healthcare professionals and other vital services involved in protecting children to identify families in need of support.
A microsite (barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond-net) will include an inquiry form and hold a wealth of self-help information and links to local services which support families with issues such as emotional wellbeing, bereavement, domestic abuse and financial worries.
Barnardo’s believes the issues families face include anxieties about living with lockdown and other restrictions, returning to school, relationships, feelings of isolation, money problems and supporting children with disabilities and other vulnerabilities.
Contact See, Hear, Respond on 0800 157 7015 or visit
The helpline for children from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds is 0800 151 2605 or visit https://helpline.barnardos.org.uk