Catalyst Courier #1

The global Coronavirus pandemic has escalated in the UK during the past week, causing widespread uncertainty and anxiety. The next few months are unpredictable and will bring unforeseen challenges to school staff, parents, and children and young people. As a team of educational psychologists we want to support you in whatever way we can. 

We do not claim to be experts in this situation as we are entering unchartered territory for everyone, but we will do all we can to support our school communities as best we can, to help you to stay in touch with your colleagues during the coming weeks and to provide resources to support parents and children at home as well as those children who are continuing to be directly supported in school. Please do use us as a source of support and do let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

Our COVID19 webpage will be updated as often as possible with resources and signposting to help us collectively through the coming days and weeks. Please do let us know the issues you are facing and your concerns. If we can help we will do so. Get in touch using our email: [email protected]

Resource focus

 We have been collecting resources for talking with children about the pandemic:

Pandemic Social Story by Carol Gray

An Easy Read version of the social distancing recommendations, produced by Talking Mats (with great visuals): click here to download

Information from the British Psychological Society on Talking to Children about Coronavirus: click here to download

Newsround has a helpful information page with a video and FAQs for children: click this link to access

This short video, also by Newsround, is reassuring for children: click this link to access

Support for adults

If you are working from home for the first time, or more than usual, or if you are self isolating but otherwise well, you might like to look at this resource from Mental Health First Aid:

Supporting your mental health while working from home

Five Ways to Wellbeing

Rebecca Wright ([email protected])

During this time, which can be distressing for some, it is helpful to engage in activities which support our emotional wellbeing. Five Ways to Wellbeing is an initiative that was developed by New Economics Foundation (2008) as a way of promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. It provides a framework for individuals inviting us to make small adaptations to our lifestyles.

These five areas include:

Connect – promoting social relationships. Talk, listen and be there for someone.

Be active – engaging in physical activity. Do what you can, enjoy what you do and move your mood.

Take notice – taking some time to enjoy/appreciate the environment around you. Remember the simple things that give you joy.

Keep learning – engaging in learning or doing something new. Embrace new experiences, see opportunities and surprise yourself

Give – participating in social and community life.  Your time, your words and your presence.

This week we are focusing on keeping active. This is particularly important to those of you who are working remotely, or not attending school. We have included suggestions relevant to current circumstances on our web page Practical Resources to Support Children and Young People

App of the week

Ruby Noble ([email protected])

Rootd: Panic attack and anxiety relief

In times of uncertainty, it is natural to experience feelings of anxiety and worry. Rootd is an app that has been developed to support people to overcome anxiety and panic attacks. It has a number of different features that are free to access and helpful in regulating your breathing and restoring feelings of calm.

This App is available free on both Android and Apple. The Breathr tool is suitable for all ages and can be used with very young children if parents wish to introduce it. The body scan tool is fine to use with KS2, and the lessons and the rootr tool would be good for high school children and adults. 

We have been listening to….

Beverley Tyrrell ([email protected])

Series title: Personal Best
Episode: A Good Night’s Sleep
Where I found it: BBC Sounds App

Podcasts are audio recordings, usually organised in series. They include fictional dramas as well as a whole host of factual and documentary style series. I’m not an expert in podcasts by any means, but often listen to them whilst relaxing or doing jobs around the house, and find them to be a calming influence in my day. You can easily download podcasts onto most devices with internet access, such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. For my first podcast recommendation, I thought about what might be most important for people at this time of uncertainty. I arrived at the idea of a podcast about sleep. 40% of adults and 25% of children suffer with regular sleep issues. Now could be a good time for us to do our best to prioritise sleep so we set ourselves on the right track to being happy, healthy, and more able to cope with whatever life throws at us! For more information on this topic, I would recommend The Sleep Council’s website and, for supporting children and young people, their ‘Goodnight Guide for Children’. Sleep well! Beverley

What the research says:

We don't know much about pandemics, but we do know that resilience can be helped by promoting:

  • A sense of safety
  • Calming
  • Sense of self- and collective- efficacy
  • Connectedness
  • Hope

We are making it our mission to promote resilience as best we can by following these principles and helping others to do so too. This is the research paper: Five Essential Elements of Immediate and Mid-term Mass Trauma: Empirical Evidence, Hobfoll et al.

Away from the virus.. a story of resilience and hope

Lucy Thompson ([email protected])

A pregnant cow who swam four miles to shore after being swept away by Hurricane Dorian in September has given birth to a “miracle” calf. The cow, Dori, was one of three swept away by Hurricane Dorian which generated an 8ft (2-meter) “mini tsunami”. The calf has one brown and one blue eye, a rare condition shared by various animals, including some wild horses. A photo of the “sea calf” was posted on Monday on Facebook by Ranch Solutions, a group hired to return the pregnant cow home to North Carolina’s Cedar Island, 350 miles east of Charlotte.


What do you need?

If you would like us to research or source resources to address a particular need or problem let us know.

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