Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children and families have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and are facing significant challenges to their emotional health and wellbeing.
Children and young people from these communities continue to be the hidden victims of the pandemic, which has exacerbated existing inequalities. These children have experienced more trauma, such as death and illness and rising hate crime due to COVID-19, leading to anxiety and other mental health difficulties. All are likely to increase further as their parents continue to be on the frontline and risk continued exposure to Covid-19 or they could be experiencing financial burdens and unemployment.
How can Boloh Helpline help?
In response to this, Barnardo’s launched a new telephone helpline with a web chat facility, which will provide a service between 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2021. The Helpline is available between 1 pm and 8 pm Monday to Friday to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children and young people between the age 11-25 years and their parents/carers.
The helpline is not just a listening service; it will provide practical and emotional support over the phone/ webchat and also refer onward to specialist community support. A dedicated team of psychotherapists associated with this service will be on hand to take referrals from the helpline and provide time-bound therapeutic support where required.
Depending on the issues present, the caller’s experiences during COVID-19 and lockdown, and specific background, we will identify the most suitable method and service for support, for example, mental health and well-being services, mentoring support for young people, supplementary schools for support with education, etc. Alongside the helpline, we have an online source of information, hosted on the Helpline’s website. These resources are available in a range of community languages.
Professionals can contact the helpline if they would like to make enquiries about the service, to seek advice on how to support their service users and/or to refer a child, young person or parent/carer to the helpline for advice and/or therapeutic support.
What children, young people and parents/carers can expect when they make contact?
Children, young people and parents/carers will receive a response on the telephone or web chat from one of our team of specialist advisors who work in a culturally informed manner and are knowledgeable about the lived experiences of children and young people and parents/carers from these communities.
Where it is identified during the initial call with the child, young person or parent/ carer that they would like to continue having further discussions with the helpline advisor on another call, they would be given the option of being called back at a convenient time by the same helpline advisor.
During these discussions, the helpline advisor will work to explore with them if they would like to be referred to the Helpline’s therapeutic support service. The aim of this continued support by the helpline advisor is to ensure they provide: continued support, advice and signposting to other organisations and work towards achieving an overall reduction of the negative impact of Covid-19, and its aftermath, on personal and family life.
Once referred to the psychotherapist, they will provide six sessions for the child/young person. These sessions are also available separately for parents/carers.
Six therapeutic sessions will be offered and if additional sessions are required this could be arranged. The sessions which will take place over the phone will be either once or twice a week, depending on the needs and circumstances of the family.
- The first and sixth session will be for 45 minutes to allow for an initial baseline assessment to be made of three key challenges the family or individual are facing, with the final session to discuss and note progress made during the service.
- Sessions two to five, of 30 minutes each, will comprise therapeutic support to address the key challenges identified in the first session.
The team of qualified therapists either have a lived experience of coming from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community, or have prior professional experience of delivering therapeutic support to service users from communities the Helpline aims to provide a service. All therapists have specialist training in delivering culturally sensitive support.
Can support be provided in different languages?
Our helpline advisors can provide a service in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi. In December 2020, the languages available will expand to include Amharic, Tigrinya and Mirpuri. The therapeutic sessions can be provided in the following languages: English, Bengali, Hindi, French, Punjabi and Greek.
How do I refer a family to the Helpline?
You can provide the child, young person or parent/carer with the Helpline’s number and ask them to get in contact. They can also make contact via the web chat which can be accessed via the website.
You can also talk to the child, young person and parent/carer about the Helpline and contact us on their behalf to discuss referring them to access the service, but this must be done with their consent. Once you make contact, the helpline advisor will discuss what support could be provided based on the information you have provided. Once there is confirmation that the child, young person or parent/carer consents to the referral, the helpline advisor will obtain their details and make contact with them.
Getting in touch
Our Vision is to see Black Asian and Minority Ethnic children and young people develop their inner strength to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. We know that we are unable to this without working in partnership with you, so please talk to us if you need any further information by making contact via:
Free phone: 0800 151 2605
We've included downloads of this information below, along with a poster that can be displayed.