Updated: 19 May 2020
It’s a strange time right now and it might feel scary or confusing. It’s natural to experience lots of different emotions. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling and anything you’re worried about. Often it helps to talk through things with someone and process everything that’s in your head.
What’s happening with my service?
We’re still here to support you. Our services are giving appointments over WhatsApp (chat and video), Zoom, Skype and Signal. Please have a chat with your worker to agree how you’d like to stay in touch. If you feel like you really need to meet in person, let us know and we’ll try and arrange this if we can.
If you can’t make a session or you don’t think you need it, please let your worker know.
Also, it’s a good idea to find out if there are any changes to other services that might be supporting you. Please get in touch with your Change Grow Live worker if you’d like some support with this.
What should I do if I feel unwell?
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature. If you think you have any coronavirus symptoms, please use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
It’s important you don’t visit services, pharmacies, your GP or the hospital if you think you have symptoms.
What should I do about my medication?
Please keep in contact with your worker - they can help you make arrangements for any medication you need. If you need to isolate at home, someone will be able to collect your medication for you.
How can I stay safe if I’m using drugs or alcohol?
If you choose to use drugs or drink alcohol, here are some ways you can keep yourself safe:
Wash your hands all over with soap or hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds. Do this before and after handling money and before you touch any drugs. Whenever you go out, make sure you wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Prepare your own drugs. Wipe down bags with alcohol cleansers or wipes (at least 60% alcohol concentration). Keep your surfaces clean - wipe them down before and after use, with a disinfectant cleaner or disinfectant wipe.
Drinking: don’t share bottles, cartons, glasses or cups; smoking: use your own pipes – don’t share cigarettes, roll-ups, vapes or foil; snorting: use your own straws (using different colours is a good idea) – don’t use notes or keys; injecting: use your own needles or spoons.
Coronavirus has affected dealers’ drug supplies, so you might find that the drugs you’re picking up are stronger, have a higher purity or are something different altogether. This means they might affect you differently to normal. Start with a small amount and see how you feel. Wait at least 2 hours before taking more, as the effects can take a while to set in.
If you are using alone, make sure someone you trust knows what you’re taking, how much and where you are. Ideally, this should be someone in the same house so they can respond quickly if things don't go to plan.
Please make sure you, your family and anyone you use with has a naloxone kit. You can get a free naloxone kit and training from your worker.
It’s always important to avoid mixing drugs, or drinking alcohol at the same time. It’s especially important at the moment because dealers’ drug supplies may have changed, so drugs could be stronger or a higher purity.
It’s hard to find things to do at the moment, but it’s really important to try and keep your mind occupied, otherwise you could be tempted to drink or use drugs. Write a list of the things you want to do each day, then cross things off as you do them. You can use this extra time to chat with friends and check in with people to see how they’re doing. Make sure you get outside for some exercise every day too.
Websites, helplines and text advice for people under 21
Information and advice on coronavirus
- Here is a helpful guide to coronavirus (PDF) for young people from the Children’s Commissioner.
- You can find health information on the NHS website (England), NHS Inform (Scotland) or NHS Wales.
- The charity Become has advice for care-experienced young people. You can also call their advice line for free on 0800 023 2033 (open Monday to Friday 10am - 5pm).
Your mental health and wellbeing
- Read what to do if you’re anxious about coronavirus, from Young Minds.
- You can also text YoungMinds for advice if you don’t have internet - text YM to 85258. It’s free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
- For crisis support from The Mix text THEMIX to 85258 (available 24/7).
- Group chat rooms are available from The Mix too.
Staying safe online
- Young people’s guide to staying safe online from the Children’s Commissioner.
- Staying safe online advice from Childline.
Problems at home
- Here are 8 tips for dealing with conflict at home from The Children's Society.
- If you’re thinking of running away or leaving home, the Runaway Helpline is there to listen to you and offer you support. Call or text for free on 116 000, 24/7.
- Are you caring for someone at home? Maybe your Mum or Dad is using drugs or alcohol? You can speak anonymously to The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA). It's free and confidential. You can contact them on 0800 358 3456, Monday to Saturday, 2pm - 7pm.
- You can also speak to your nearest Change Grow Live service for support. Find your nearest service here.
- This is a short book to support and reassure children under 7. Available in a range of languages.
- See the coronavirus, children and you guidance from the Children’s Commissioner. It includes helpful resources and support for parents and professionals supporting children.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has advice for healthy parenting in the time of coronavirus.
- This handbook from Emerging Minds has evidence-based advice for anyone supporting children and young people with their worries around Coronavirus. (PDF)
Children and young people’s mental health
See Public Health England’s guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you're living with an abusive partner and you're worried about what will happen while you're staying at home, and/or worried about your children, you can contact the Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline:
- Call 0808 2000 247 (free, open 24/7)
- Contact the helpline team online
- If you are in an emergency situation, please call 999.
You can also read the government's advice on support for victims of domestic abuse.
Keeping your children safe online
- Here is an online safety guide for parents from NSPCC.
- Catch22 has tips for parents, carers and professionals to help young people stay safe online.
Tackling abuse and exploitation
As drug dealers compete over a shrinking market, there is a potential for gang violence to go up. You can increase your knowledge of child criminal exploitation (also known as ‘county lines’), and ways to keep children safe, with these criminal exploitation resources from The Children’s Society.
For advice to help you spot the signs of abuse, and know what to do if you're worried about a child, see NSPCC’s keeping children safe from abuse support page.