For anyone who left school last week for the last time, endings are going to be at the front of your mind. Transitions from one stage of life, from one school to another, are a big deal. We plan for them, we usually take a lot of time to think about and prepare for them. We feel a whole range of emotions from sadness to joy, happy memories, nostalgia and relief it is all over. Right now, there are an awful lot of young people and their families who haven’t had a chance to do any of that.

Be gentle with yourselves and each other. A whole range of emotions is quite normal right now. I am talking to a lot of young people who are experiencing something that looks a little bit like grief. That familiar mix of emotions: regret, confusion, anger and sadness, and although maybe not so serious or lasting, just like gr

ief it is going to take time to process.

Just like grief, people are going to cope with it in different ways and at different speeds. Not everyone will be as upset by it. But if you or your child are, just remind yourself that it is OK to feel what you are feeling.

There is no need to rush, but it might be worth beginning to think about how you might respond to those feelings, both individually and in groups. Think about ways to hold onto memories, celebrate the good things, and stay connected until you are ready to move onto the next phase of your life.

Some ideas to try:

  • Memory books and boxes

  • ‘Virtual’ year books, where people (paying respect to confidentiality and sharing pictures etc) could contribute photos, ideas and memories to a group or to someone who is able to ‘curate’ them into a book for sharing.

  • Social media ‘proms’ e.g on Facebook live, when everyone can join in if they want to from the safety of their own home

  • Making sure you and your child keep in touch with close friends that matter to them and don’t feel completely cut off

  • Talking about the next steps and keeping on preparing and researching. This may be a sad ending, but it is also the beginning of a new phase and we can start looking forward to that too

With best wishes, Helen

Dr Helen Care, Clinical Psycologist

A Confident Start