There’s a reassuring message for young people returning to Oxfordshire secondary schools this month from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s school nurses.
Schools will start a phased return from 8 March but school nurses have been working in a range of new and old ways throughout the lockdowns.
The trust’s team of caring nurses have been there for pupils whether in the school or on the end of a phone or web call for any young person that has been feeling stressed or worried.
Tikki Harrold, a school health nurse from Oxford Health NHS Primary Trust, said: “This has been a very strange school year and the school nurses have really been focussing on being available for pupils, especially when they are feeling the stress and strain of lockdown.
“We always say to young people that there’s nothing so bad that they can’t talk to us about it – and that’s as true now as it has ever been.
“The physical and emotional health of young people has always been top priority for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s school health nurses. With COVID-19 and lockdown alongside the usual range of challenges that young people face, now can be a tough time for some. If anyone is feeling that their emotional health is suffering, we can help.”
The school nurses work in partnership with other agencies to offer support to school-aged children, young people and their families on many issues and they returned to the county’s schools at the same time as pupils.
Each Oxfordshire school has an allocated school nurse who are part of the school community. Pupils can be referred to the nurse by their parent or guardian, by social services or they can self-refer.
Between 1st Jan and 28th Feb there have been nearly 4,500 contacts with children and young people, many of which have been around emotional wellbeing
Tikki explained: “When the schools are back open we will be able to provide a more conventional service which, for pupils who feel more comfortable with coming to see us in person, is really good.
“Over the summer the nurses also produced a video to help young people with some of the worries that they may have had and reassuring them that school nurses were there for them.”
For more information on the role of the school health nurse or details of how to contact them, please visit https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/school-health-nurses/
If you are a young person who would like to self-refer, please visit your school website for details of how to contact your own school health nurse.