Children are facing emotional health crisis - Christian charity

(Photo: Unsplash/Jessica Lewis)

Christian charity Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) is calling on the Government to make children's emotional wellbeing a priority in the recovery from Covid-19.

With the Government focused on the educational attainment of children who have been in and out of the classroom for the last year, TLG is asking that it give equal precedence to emotional support.

The charity warns of an "intensifying" emotional health crisis that may lead to a rise in exclusions if children's emotions play out in a way that is deemed 'disruptive' in the classroom.

This in turn would place additional pressure on social services and lead to more children falling through the education system, with potentially catastrophic lifelong consequences, it warns. 

The call comes in a briefing paper from the charity published ahead of schools across England reopening on 8 March.

The paper recommends a trauma-responsive approach that regards 'bad or disruptive behaviour' as a coping mechanism and a cry for help.

It also flags the huge discrepancy between the £700m committed to help children catch up academically, compared to just £8m for the 'Wellbeing for Education Return Fund'.

The report calls for more help and resources for schools so that they can prioritise early intervention and provide support for children's wellbeing. 

Recommendations include trauma-responsive training as part of regular teacher training and for additional support for schools from local authority-employed trauma specialists.

Rae Morfin, Head of Therapeutic Practice at TLG, said: "We have seen the impact relational trauma can have on children, which can often contribute towards their struggle to settle into a mainstream classroom environment.

"Here at TLG we are committed to providing trauma responsive, relational approaches in our schools and Early Intervention coaching, which is proven to be effective with the most vulnerable children.

"It would be great to see these approaches replicated inside mainstream schools to prevent children being trapped in a cycle of being misunderstood and excluded for reasons beyond their emotional and developmental capabilities."

Tim Morfin, CEO of TLG, said: "Urgent action must be taken to mitigate the emotional wellbeing impact of Covid-19, before it impacts our society for generations.

"This feels like a huge task, but one that can be achieved if individuals and organisations – from the Government to the NHS to schools to the voluntary sector– work together to prioritise children's emotional health and wellbeing."