Children and young people living with health conditions are more likely to experience poor mental health than their peers. And unsurprisingly, there has been a sharp increase in the number of young people struggling with their mental health due to the long term effects of the pandemic.
Southampton Children’s Hospital employees a team of specialist psychologists who support children, young people and families who may be struggling following an admission or referral.
The team look to:
- help poorly youngsters feel more confident and relaxed about visits to hospital and medical procedures,
- support children and young people to adjust to diagnosis and the effects of illness or injury,
- manage emotional issues related to health problems,
- manage treatments and the day-to-day challenges of long-term health problems
- understand the effects that illness or injury can have on cognitive functioning.
But they are not able to reach every child who needs their help. With your support, we would like to change that.
The impact of psychological support
My daughter was diagnosed with a long-term health condition from birth. She is under the care of our local hospital, and the Southampton Children’s Hospital team oversee her care as the local centre of excellence.
While medication, diet and physical aspects of her care are taken care of, the teams do not deal with her emotions or worries about her condition.
We found that from a young age, she would ask lots of questions. We supported her as much as we could on our own and then about three years ago, the child psychology team were recommended to us as an additional form of support available.
After the first introductory meeting, my daughter was left to speak to the psychologists on her own. During the one-on-one sessions my daughter and her assigned psychologist built up a good relationship, and she continues to feel comfortable to express her feelings and discuss any topics she feels worried about. She has been provided with tools to help her manage her day-to-day struggles and emotions.
The psychology team provided me with separate sessions when I struggled with my own feelings about my daughter’s health condition and have also provided me with new skills and tools to deal with certain situations.
Like many people, Covid-19 was very isolating. The team continued to help and provide virtual session and offer tools to help us cope together as a family.
The fact the service is self-referral has been amazing. My daughter’s condition is not curable and therefore it is great to have the option to pause sessions if there is nothing pressing, however we know that there is an option to request additional help and support when needed without having to go through a long referral process.
We have found the support and guidance of the child psychology team in Southampton invaluable and would highly recommend them to any families in need of additional support.”