Helping our young people through coronavirus closures

Today, school and college is suddenly over for most children and young people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and summer exams are cancelled.
young men  sitting in classroom

Many children and young people will be feeling “at sea” with the sudden closure of schools, colleges and universities.

And for those preparing to take their GCSEs and A levels – it’s a confusing time not knowing what the Government plans to do and how they will get their qualifications.

Locally and nationally, there are resources to help young people through this tricky time, ranging from crisis messaging services to online counselling.

Advice for parents and carers

The British Psychological Society has published tips for schools, parents and carers dealing with the unprecedented school closures.  These include:

  • Expect stress

Stress and anxiety is normal in uncertain and unpredictable times.

  • Provide reassurance

Young people may now be concerned about the announcement that exams later this year will not be going ahead as planned. They may feel like all their hard work has been for nothing.

Reassure young people that the Prime Minister has said that all children and young people will get the qualification they worked towards.

Acknowledge the plan is a bit uncertain right now but emphasise to young people that the government and Department for Education are working on a plan.

  • Keep them connected

Friendships are a key resiliency factor for children and young people.

Most children see their friends nearly every day of the week and so not being in contact with them for some time might be upsetting.

Is it possible for children to talk to their friends on the phone or set up a Skype or WhatsApp group call.

Try to ensure /encourage a balanced range of activities each day – not just screen-based ones. Involve children and young people in these discussions so that they feel part of the plan.

Read more

Local and national resources and support

Note that face to face services, hubs and groups have had to be suspended and many organisations are limiting what they can offer.

Chat Health text service

Confidential health advice for 11-19s in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.Topics have ranged from relationships and self harm to bullying, healthy eating, drugs and alcohol.

It’s run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme and is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.00pm.

To start a conversation, just text 07480 635 443.

Centre 33

Hubs and drop ins cancelled but phone and video link support for young people from 13-25 in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Make contact via email, text, or call. These messages and emails are currently being picked up once a day during the week. You will hear back within 48 hours. Tel: 0333 4141809, text: 07514 783745 or email:

Chums Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Service

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough website offering emotional and mental health information and resources 

Keep Your Head  

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough website offering emotional and mental health information and resources.

Counselling and support


Free, anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform: 12pm-10pm Monday to Friday and 6pm-10pm Saturday and Sunday .

Childline (for up to 19s)

Hours have changed – no counsellors online or on the phone  between midnight and 9am.

Young person in a crisis?

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.

If you need urgent help text YM to 85258


The UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

The Samaritans

Call 116 123 

First Response Service

Worried about a young person harming themselves or feel they are at serious risk?

Call 111 – and choose option 2 to talk to specially-trained mental health staff.

For anyone, of any age, who is registered with a GP in Cambridgeshire .

Information correct as of 20 March 2020

Share your experiences

How have the changes to services due to the coronavirus pandemic affected you? 

We can share what you tell us with the people who are planning the local and national response to coronavirus.

This will help them protect people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Call 0330 355 1285

Text 0752 0635 176

Share your story

How is coronavirus affecting you?

Read our advice and guidance on coronavirus and find out how services are changing to meet people's needs. 

Find out more