If you have children you’ll know all talking to them about coronavirus. How did it go? Here’s some really useful thoughts and resources to help you the next time you try…
by Rebecca Roberts
As I’m writing up notes from the many research reports, articles and insights papers on young people, I’ve been struck by a key theme that has dramatically shaped their outlook over the past year. Uncertainty.
Change was something that came through in the Engaging Youth report in 2018-2019 but with Brexit actually happening in 2020, further widespread reports on the impact of global warming, from the bush fires in Australia to the flooding in the UK, and now the biggest question mark over us of Coronovirus, what impact will this have on young people’s wellbeing this year?
Several reports already point to a decrease in happiness with life as a whole, increased feelings of anxiety and pressure at school and in their wider lives.
The biggest inequality when it comes to wellbeing in the UK however is socioeconomic – i.e. those children and young people from lower socioeconomic groups are experiencing greater levels of unhappiness and poorer emotional wellbeing.
This is perhaps one of the biggest worries over the forthcoming weeks and months in terms of the impact of school closures, short-term redundancies and reliance on the government. We see in several parts of the UK, the level of concern over the summer holiday period for children from poorer families being fed enough – as free school meals are not available. The added pressures of the coming weeks therefore could have a broader knock-on effect for some of the UK’s most vulnerable young people.
As we all grapple with our localised concerns, be they for family, friends, community or how we continue to deliver work on a remote basis, we should recognise the impact that this uncertainty has on children and young people and what we can do to help.
Useful resources to help us…
How to speak to children about Coronovirus: Unicef Australia have some great advice
How to talk to teens about it: Harvard Medical School give these tips
The World Health Organisation released some useful mental health considerations and indeed how we should be talking about the pandemic – this may inform how you shape some of your communications
Interesting read in the Guardian about the importance of combatting the ‘infodemic’ just as much as the epidemic in terms of managing the ‘fear’ reporting versus helpful, clear information
And if you’ve not already read comms2point0’s blog post on crisis communications and resilience at this time – do so now, it really is a helpful reminder.
Rebecca Roberts is the Founder of Thread & Fable, a marketing and communications agency with a specialism in youth engagement. You can download its Engaging Youth Report 2019 for free here (2020 report is out imminently) You can say hello on Twitter at @Rebecca7Roberts
Image via the National Archives UK