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Advice for Young People while Schools are Closed

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Advice Developed by the DES National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) 1 COVID-19 (Coronavirus):

The Government has made a decision to close all schools in Ireland in order to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Ireland and keep as many people as possible safe and well.

In addition to this, people have been asked to stay at home and to practice social/physical distancing. We have not been in this situation before, so this is new to us all, but if we follow the right advice we will get through this, and in time we will be proud of how we responded, working together to support our country.

You have a part to play in this. Some of you may be ready to take on the challenge of staying at home, some of you may be bored and fed up and others may be feeling worried or anxious about what these changes may mean.

We are all adjusting and adapting. When trying to think about how you can support yourself, your family, your community and your country in the coming weeks, remember these three key messages:

Stay Responsible & Informed Stay Active & Connected Stay Positive & Calm

1. Stay Responsible & Informed:

  • Follow the HSE advice on their website (see link at end) on protecting yourself, practicing social/physical distancing and on ways to avoid spreading the virus.

  • Keep up-to-date with information posted on the Department of Education & Skills’ Twitter account (see link at end).

  • Without the facts we may believe rumours and imagine situations far worse than reality. Stick to reliable, trustworthy sources of information such as the HSE, the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills, the World Health Organisation (see links at end) and trustworthy mainstream news sources, such as RTE.

  • Take breaks from the news and social media as this makes us less vulnerable to ‘fake news’ and limits our exposure to unhelpful or inaccurate information.

  • Remember that the Government is working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy and safe.

  • Remember, too, that not everyone will get the virus and the vast majority who get it will recover fully. At times like this we all need to support each other:

  • During this time of Covid-19 let’s create new routines. Keeping busy, having a sense of purpose and feeling in control of our time is very important. We can help ourselves get through this time by creating a Plan for the Day, every evening for the day ahead (see link at end). Following the normal school day can be a guide. When creating a Plan for the Day think about the following:

Include some basic daily activities:

o Sleep is good for your health and wellbeing so it’s important to get plenty of sleep - eight to twelve hours is recommended for young people. Leaving your phone/laptop/tablet outside of your bedroom will help you to get a good night’s sleep. It’s also important to eat healthily, to drink lots of water and to take care of personal hygiene. Aim to include sleep, taking exercise, showering and getting dressed into your daily routine. (Remember to discuss your plan with your family to make sure that your plan for meals, computer time, showering etc. works for everyone.)

Include some physical activity & housework: o Going for a walk or run/doing weights/jumping on a trampoline/following an exercise routine on line or by using an App. If possible try some physical activity outdoors and get some sunshine and fresh air but stay within 2 kilometres of your home, keeping 2 metres distance from other people.

o Tidying your room (make your bed/keep your space clean and tidy)

o Helping with the housework (empty and load the dishwasher/mow the lawn/wash the car/vacuum/ help with the shopping/with cooking/with washing & ironing)

Include some social activity:

o We all find it hard to be away from our friends, to practice physical/social distancing and to stay at home. Use technology to stay in touch. (Our country really needs your help with this.)

o If you have relatives, family or neighbours who may be lonely or who live alone, why not give them a ring? Remember in particular older relatives.

o Reconnect with your family. Find similar interests and plan to watch TV together, play board games/make a jigsaw or help with the housework together. Maybe you can help a younger brother or sister with their schoolwork.

Include enjoyable and creative activities:

o Try something new. Use YouTube to take up a new hobby. o Do a crossword, read, draw, paint, write or listen to music. o Capture each day by documenting it through writing, recording or photography. Keep a journal/diary of this time. It might be something that you will really value in the future. o Write/email a letter to a friend, relative or elderly neighbour. o Watch a favourite TV programme. o Share and enjoy fun TikToks with friends. o Prepare a meal. Bake a cake. Include schoolwork:

o It is important that your new routine on weekdays mirrors the normal school day, as much as possible. One option may be to follow the order of subjects as they appear on your usual school timetable. Another option may be to take a short break after what is the usual length of a class period in your school.

o It is important that you make time each day to complete some schoolwork. Keep a log of what you have worked on each day.

o Your school may be using technology to support your education at Developed by the DES National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) for this time. Remember to check the school website and your email regularly for messages from your school.

o It is often hard to stay focused when working alone at home. This is normal. Taking regular breaks and rewarding yourself is key to staying motivated.

3. Stay Positive & Calm

Over the next few weeks we may have lots of different feelings. It may all feel a bit unreal. We may feel anxious, sad, afraid, fed up, angry, shocked or even numb. We may feel nothing at all. This is all ok and these are all normal and healthy reactions to stressful situations, such as the Covid-19 outbreak. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel. If our feelings and reactions seem different from those of our friends, remember that everyone reacts differently. There are things we can do, to help, such as: Talk to family and friends about your feelings. Sharing our thoughts or worries with others really does help.

Remember that there are a lot of rumours and ‘fake news’ going around at the moment. If you are worried about them, talk to an adult or parent.

Get your information from a reliable source.

Continually talking about Covid-19 or watching constant updates on it can increase your anxiety. Try to limit accessing information on the internet/ television/social media that might be upsetting to you.

Covid-19 will pass and life will get back to normal.

Look at this break from your normal routine as a time to pay attention to yourself and make a special effort to take care of yourself. Try to get some extra sleep, eat nutritious foods and get some exercise, even if it is just a walk.

Practice some relaxation techniques (see link at end).

Do something you enjoy. Think about something that makes you feel good, then make it happen – like listening to music, going for walks, doing an exercise routine, watching a funny movie. Remember laughter is good medicine!

Mindfulness Apps: 

  • Mindshift

  • Headspace

  • Calm


If you need further support remember to let us help you here at Talk To Tom. We can be your guide - contact us on (0818) 303061or via Whats App.  To launch a chat now click here.  You can find out more about our counselling service here. 


Other services you where you can reach someone to talk to are:

Samaritans offers a 24 hour listening service over text message, text 'Hello' to 087 260 9090 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply) or call 116 123 to talk to someone over the phone.

Childline text and instant messaging services are available from 10am - 4am every day to young people under 18, text 'Talk' to 50101 to talk to a trained counsellor by text message or call 1800 66 66 66.

Visit Your GP:

We always recommend that you visit your GP.  Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.  Your doctor is a professional health care provider and will be familiar with how you are feeling.  Your mental health is just that - your health.  You would visit your GP if you had been feeling physically unwell right ?  Your emotional health is just as important as your physical well-being - in fact the two go hand in hand.  If you don’t have a current GP you can find a list of services in your area here.  You can also contact the CareDoc service on 1850 334 999

Contact the Emergency Services:

If you are an immediate danger to yourself and are going through a suicidal crisis  please contact the emergency services by dialling 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.


Advice Developed by the DES National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) 1 COVID-19 (Coronavirus):

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