As we reach the end of the academic year today, we wanted to acknowledge our local community of children and young people, parents and carers, and schools.

Firstly, thank you to our educators. To our teachers, teaching assistants, early years educators, childminders and nurseries, and the support staff teams in schools who have all worked tirelessly, in such difficult circumstances this year. We recognise the challenges, the ever-changing circumstances, the level of responsibility and accountability, the tear-inducing need for updated protocols, urgent updates and schoolwide systems. Thank you for persevering. The Retreat has a number of Clinicians who are trained teachers: they are well aware of how challenging the role is, even in a pre-COVID world. The Retreat can offer supervision, group or individual therapy, or facilitate a psychologically-informed space to reflect on the past school year; get in touch with us.

To the parents and carers who have juggled more than we ever though you would have to, thank you. You have demonstrated endurance and flexibility and kept going when you had the anxiety of the dreaded ‘ping’; yet another notification from school or nursery, Track and Trace, or members of your support bubble. You may have been isolated, but you are certainly not alone. If you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling, please look on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/ or contact the Samaritans: Phone 116 123, Email jo@samaritans.org.

To the children and young people in our community: you have demonstrated an incredible amount of strength and resilience, and your ability to keep going in the face of change and uncertainty is admirable. We know of young people who loathed home schooling, who just wanted to go back… until they were called back in, with masks and twice-weekly testing, and just wanted to be at home again. To all the children and young people who have missed out on sports days, events, transitions and ‘goodbyes’ due to COVID: you are not alone, although it can sometimes feel that way. Even if you can’t find the words, there are lots of ways to work through how you are feeling. Our creative therapy team can help you to identify and explore your thoughts.

As a parent, carer or teacher, it can be difficult to know how to keep a child safe and protected, both physically and emotionally. If you are worried about a child or young person, please call the NSPCC Helpline, Telephone 0808 800 5000, or email help@nspcc.org.uk for help, advice and support from trained child counsellors. You can also raise concerns with your family GP. If you feel there is an urgent risk to anyone’s health, wellbeing or safety, always call the emergency services on 999.

Everyone copes differently. As today marks the end of the academic school year, we hope that you are all able to enjoy the summer holidays, to rest, to breathe, to explore, and to look after yourself.

To find out more about The Retreat’s therapy services, or to book an appointment please call 01904 412 551 or email info@theretreatyork.org.uk