How Can I Support My Child’s Mental Health At University During COVID-19?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

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In This Episode :

How Can I Support My Child’s Mental Health At University During COVID-19?

Listen to the Expert Interview

(only available to Members of Sue’s Parenting Club Online)


Connect with Dr Gail Sinitsky






Tuppence Worth

Thousands of young people have been encouraged back to university and abandoned by the system.

Where are their safety nets?

Is confining students in halls a mental health crisis in the making?

“It feels as though we’re paying to be in prison.” says an 18-year-old student on the phone from her room in university halls.

The journalist Joanna Moorhead deposited her daughter there a week ago; the days since have been a distressing spiral. As with many other students, nothing has been organised for the young people arriving at her university.



She has met no member of staff other than security guards; she has been introduced to no seasoned students in other years, who could show her the ropes and help her get her feet on the ground.

And worst of all, she has been given no information or advice about who she could turn to for help.

We have spent the past decade in this country trying to get people to recognise that mental health is every bit as important as physical health.

We already know that young people leaving home for the first time are at particular risk, at a time of huge change in their lives, and we also know that there’s an epidemic of mental ill-health in their generation.

And yet, despite knowing all this, thousands of our most vulnerable young people are right now alone, afraid and abandoned by the system. As my friend’s son points out: starting at a new school is scary – and the education system falls over itself to provide support and safety nets, to ensure that children’s worst nightmares don’t become a reality.

Ministers knew ahead of time that these young people would pay a terrible price. Yet the system is colluding to ensure that many of these people’s worst fears are realised. It’s a shocking failure of leadership, and it’s letting down a generation of young people.



In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email [email protected] or [email protected] In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at




I’m finally starting my journey of being a Mentor after lockdown. I was meant to start in March & did my induction but Covid has meant we have to do it online now not in person.

No girls should have their futures limited by their gender, ethnicity, background, or parental income.

I believe that all girls should be supported to realise their ambitions, to discover their self-worth, and to develop their capacity to shape their world and their future & that’s why I have become a Mentor with The Girls Network.

Mentoring is an amazing way to share your experience and skills with a girl that might not benefit from this support otherwise.

It is also a great way to show a teenage girl that you believe in her, and that she is worth investing time in.

This is a powerful combination, and one that we have seen transform the lives of girls and young women again and again.

The Girls Network are looking for women who have had experience in the workplace, who have time and willingness to support a girl from one of the least-advantaged communities across the country, and who want to support a girl to overcome obstacles and seize opportunities!

All they ask of mentors is for a commitment of at least one hour a month, over the course of the year.


Are you:

Able to relate well to others?

Good at working through problems?

Committed and reliable?

Able to provide insight from your personal experiences?

Then mentoring could be for you!

Find out more here:






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Don’t Stew – Ask Sue Parenting Q & A

Q. Dear Sue, lock down, new normal, new school year and new anxieties but the same old problems of getting on my son’s nerves. How do you communicate & get on with your teenage kids who think you’re a fuddy duddy ? Marina Bianchi from Peterborough


Ten Simple Things to Do Every Single Day As A Parent of a Teenager


Involve Yourself in Your Child’s Life

One of the most important things you can do to safeguard your relationship is to spend time with them.

None of us ever feels we “have enough time” to do the things we have to do much less the ones we’d like to do!

But strong family ties are formed between teenage children and their parents if a little regular daily effort is made to spend time talking, eating and being with them.

So ask yourself how you can enhance the quality of the time you spend with your teenager?

Even teenage children with their own friends, lifestyle and interests should be absolutely sure that they can count on your time with them.

Set aside time when you can give your full attention to your teen.

Could it be at family dinner time, homework help time, or once-a-week outings?

And each of your children needs some time to spend with you alone, apart from brothers and sisters despite what vibe they may give out!


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