The pandemic and lockdown - a time that none of us are ever likely to forget.
And the lasting effects on children might not be known for an entire generation.
Eleven-year-old Ceri* has lots of friends and is enjoying school. She's happy. But, like a lot of kids who retreated into their bedrooms during the COVID-19 lockdown, Ceri needed help to recover her confidence when classrooms opened up again. Thankfully, thanks to the expert counsellors at the charity Place2Be, that's exactly what she got.
For Ceri, from South Wales, the biggest post-lockdown challenge was just making it through the school gates. She felt overwhelmed and tearful and despite the support of her mum and a kind headteacher, she needed to calmly sit alone before she could face the school day again.
Ceri's headteacher suggested speaking to a counsellor from Place2Be might help. Ceri's goal was simple: to feel less worried about leaving her family and coming into school.
After 10 sessions, Ceri showed a huge improvement and her worries about coming into school had reduced to almost nothing. The change in her was noticed by everyone who knew her and, most importantly, it was noticed by Ceri who said, "I feel like a changed person thanks to Place2Be."
Providing Children With Support
Ceri's school is one of 520 across the UK with Place2Be counsellors who provide children with mental health and emotional support. The charity is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery, who to date have raised more than £2.6 Million for its work.
Place2Be area manager and counsellor Emma Bell said, "As she chatted with her counsellor, Ceri gradually felt calmer simply talking about how she was feeling. It was like we had shone a light in a dark room.
"Children worry about a lot of things, but they don't always tell their parents or friends," added Emma.
"Sometimes these worries seem trivial to adults - such as falling out with a friend - but they can create big feelings that children don't always know how to cope with. At Place2Be we help children feel seen and heard."
Place2Be's focus on bringing counselling and emotional support into schools is making a difference, with many counsellors from the charity becoming part and parcel of school life. Children such as Ceri know they can speak to someone when they need to.
*Name changed to protect identity.
Making A Difference
People's Postcode Lottery players are helping deserving causes like Place2Be make a difference every single day. Read more about the range of Charities that our players support.