Supporting your child’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on 19th May 2021 in Wellbeing, Health insurance, Independent Education

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Help and advice is available if your family is struggling

The past few months have been disorientating for children, with COVID-19 disrupting every aspect of normal life. Bedrooms became classrooms, parents turned into teachers, and packed after-school schedules were put on pause. And for many children, the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health.

According to a study of more than 10,000 parents and carers from the University of Oxford [1], children have experienced a range of emotional difficulties in lockdown, including feeling more unhappy and anxious. This is corroborated by recent research [2] among high net worth parents from premium health insurer Bupa Global that found nearly one in five (18%) saw signs of anxiety in their families during lockdown.

But there are some steps that parents can follow to help their children cope with this challenging period and adapt to the new normality.

Acknowledge their frustrations

Parents instinctively lean towards best-case-scenario responses when talking to their children. However, Bupa Global Lead Physician Dr Naveen Puri suggests that honest and open discussions are often more successful.

“Parents can’t control what happens in the wider world, but they can control how they communicate with their children about any challenges they are facing. Though it may feel difficult at the time, children will benefit more from honest conversations in an understanding home environment.”

Acknowledge that returning to school after a long period of homeschooling may be a struggle for some children and chat through their frustrations (however minor) on a daily basis. Simply knowing they have your support and understanding can make a significant difference to their overall perspective on school.

Be mindful of your words

A 2020 survey by Mind [3] revealed that the majority of young people (73%) said that their mental health declined during the lockdown. This means it’s important for parents to listen and respond to any school-related concerns without judgement. Run through the conversation in your head, or with a friend beforehand, to ensure you feel comfortable with the topics you are tackling and to help avoid them closing down.

Have difficult conversations on neutral ground

If you recognise signs of stress and anxiety, then early intervention is key. Avoid their bedroom or the kitchen table and find a neutral space – such as an early evening walk – to open up the conversation.

“Be sure to let them properly process the chat,” advises Dr Puri. “Let them know they can come back to you later on if needs be.”

If your child boards, share your concerns with their Housemaster so they can monitor the situation until the next visit home and keep in regular contact via video calls.

Put the right support in place

Don’t be afraid to get help if your family is struggling to cope. Bupa Global has multiple resources for customers affected by mental health issues – including the Global Virtual Care service which provides confidential access to a global network of doctors available 24/7 in multiple languages – enabling you or your child to speak to a specialist at a time that suits you.

Bupa Global has a range of health insurance plans, whatever your needs. The Elite Global Health Plan, has been designed with families in mind, it covers two children up to the age of 10 at no additional cost, subject to underwriting.

Seeking medical advice is necessary for a child who is suffering, but speaking to a professional yourself is also a great way to learn how to best support their condition, treatment and needs.

For more information about Bupa Global premium health plans visit or talk to our Private Client team today on 0333 355 7683.

Calls may be recorded. Bupa Global is a trading name of Bupa Insurance Limited and Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Bupa Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Global Virtual Care service is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority nor by the Prudential Regulation Authority.


1. According to research among 10,000 parents as part of the Co-SPACE (COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics) survey led by experts at the University of Oxford in 2020:

2. According to Bupa Global’s Executive Wellbeing Index, conducted by Opinium Research in July and August 2020 among 100 high net worth individuals from the UK defined as those with over £1 million (or market currency equivalent) in annual salary and investable assets. UK tables – Table 58/Q21, C1646

3. According to a Mind survey of over 16,000 18 to 24-year-olds conducted for mental health emergency in June 2020: