Sheffield Children's Hospital Dr Dan is here to help
Sheffield Children’s Hospital is highlighting the work of specialists in the team to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.
They include Daniel Ulrich, a clinical psychologist who works with children and young people.
He is part of a team of clinical psychologists and family therapists who help children and young people with managing their stress, physical symptoms and mental health.
Dr Dan mostly works with young people who have problems with their stomachs and digestive systems or issues like continence problems or constipation.
He also helps people experiencing chronic pain.
Dr Dan said: “We work together to think about things like stress, anxiety, feeling low or angry, all sorts of emotions.
"By talking about it, understanding how our brains work and the habits they fall into, we can practise things to help us manage these emotions and the effects they have.”
His work takes place in the paediatric clinical psychology department next to the hospital, over video calls to people at home and at patients’ bedsides.
“We look at what’s going on in that person’s life, what they experience, how they feel about things, and we work out what we can do to help things feel better.
“This sometimes means talking about how we feel and discussing where things have been difficult. It also means learning tricks, tips and techniques we can use to help us live a more fulfilling lives, getting back to doing the things that matter most to us.
“I often also work with the families of the young person to help them with ways to support the young person with their physical and mental health.”
He also offers training and consultation to other health professionals on the psychological aspects of chronic illness and gives support to healthcare staff.
Dan said he learns from his young patients. “Sometimes I might struggle to get a concept across and more than once the young person has been able to understand the subject and think of creative (and often more fun!) ways of solving problems.
"It’s always a pleasure to help someone to access their true selves and to get back to living life in the way they want, which can be really hard when we’re ill.
“Seeing young people realise how much power they can have over how they feel and getting on with life despite physical symptoms or illness is always humbling.”
Dr Dan has tips to help young people struggling with their mental health while they are ill. He said that it is normal to feel strong emotions and urged young people to talk to a trusted adult or GP.
“Try not to make big changes to the things that usually make your life feel more ‘normal’ if you can help it.
"It’s better to try (where you can) to keep up with friends and talk to them, try to keep up with school and talk to your parents and teachers if you are having difficulties.
"Keeping up our hobbies is very important too because they bring us a lot of fun and excitement and life might not be as nice without them!
If you think you are struggling with your feelings, if you feel very stressed or worried or sad, or perhaps you’re not really sure how you feel, talk to someone about it.
"Ask your parents about it, and if you think you might need help, ask as soon as you feel like this.
"If you don’t want to talk to your parents, tell an adult you trust like a teacher or your GP, who will be able to offer you help.”
Find out more about ways to get support at www.sheffieldmentalhealth.co.uk/covid/covid-children-and-young
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