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Long COVID-19 in children: How to support families

28 October 2021 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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As the toll of Long COVID grows ever larger, we are increasingly becoming aware of its impact on children and their families, and we will potentially be dealing with the psychological fallout from this for many years to come.

This webinar is run by a parent and founder of the group LongCovidKids, Fran Simpson, who has been experiencing this and sharing her findings since late 2020. She will be presenting the lived experience of families, including the range of symptoms that children are suffering from and the responses from the medical professionals.

She will also look at best practices for working with these families, from the perspectives of the families themselves, as well as supportive practitioners and researchers that have been involved in this developing situation. 

This webinar will provide practitioners with an overview of Long COVID in children – what we know so far (and what we don’t), what may support people (and what really won’t!) using the most current empirical evidence. It will provide some examples of real life situations and feedback from the lived experience of members of LongCovidKids.

It will explore the difficulties of living with the associated uncertainties and consider ways in which this may be addressed. It will briefly touch on the need for practitioners to be client centred, and validate the lived experiences and knowledge of the families with care taken not to reduce the condition.

Over 16 months into the pandemic and we are faced with what has been described as a ‘hidden pandemic’ – the chronic condition known as ‘Long Covid’. Whilst it has taken some time to gain recognition, it is now officially recognised and is being properly funded to provide clinics and research into the condition (NIHR, 2021)

However, one aspect of this has not been well recognised, and that is the fact that it also affects children. The prevailing narrative around children has been that they are largely not badly affected by Covid, with a very small percentage experiencing MISC/ PIMS.The fact that children were also experiencing the long term effects of the virus has been overlooked until the research started filtering through at the beginning of this year.

As with other complex post-viral/ multi-systemic syndromes, there are many opinions and indeed controversies surrounding this, and until there are more studies into the aetiology/ mechanisms of these symptoms the split between psychology and physiology will persist. Certainly, there are psychological effects to chronic illness, as well as functional symptoms that result from inflammatory processes. However, there are some who prefer to label this as entirely psychological, and others who would cast doubt on the parents’ own mental health which leads to poor working relationships between the families and those who can help them.

Consequently, there is a real need for support for these families, who are beset by the frightening and unknown results of a novel virus with no real treatments or cures. Many of these families have faced ‘medical gaslighting’ through which they have experienced not being believed, the child has been told that it is anxiety and their experiences invalidated by medical professionals. They often have a resistance to support from mental health professionals because they feel that this is to replace proper investigation and is proof that they are not being believed.

For those of us who will be working with these children and their families, it is critical that their experiences are validated and that they feel heard. We must adopt a curious, patient-centred stance and we must be prepared to sit with the not knowing, accepting that we do not have the answers but we will support the patient and their family. We must have an understanding that these families may be experiencing symptoms of anxiety due to their anxiety-inducing situation, without reducing their lived experience to ‘anxiety’ and offering a panacea in response.

Target audience

This webinar is suitable for all practitioners and researchers in psychology and for anyone from other professions who work with these clients.

Please note: This webinar will be recorded and made available as a recording for everyone who registers.

Learning Outcomes

What can attendees expect to learn?

  1. To identify key features of Long Covid as experienced by children and their families including prevalence, symptoms and medical experiences.
  2. To demonstrate awareness of the context of Long Covid and other post-viral conditions, including the controversies around mental illness.
  3. To explore theories of uncertainty and ways that these may be applied to the situations faced by these families.
  4. To apply our knowledge of theory, self and context in order to support all members of these families effectively without minimising their experiences.

Presenter: Fran Simpson MBPsS

Fran Simpson is the co-founder of the support and advocacy group ‘LongCovidKids’ and teaches Applied Psychology as a part of Coventry University. Both her children experienced Long Covid and she has been involved in research, writing and advocacy since May of last year. She is also in her final year as a trainee psychotherapist and is a member of the BPS. She has been teaching for many years and enjoys creating a relational, engaging and enjoyable experience for all the participants.


Start: 12:00

Finish: 14:00

Non-members £80.00 (£66.67 + VAT)
Society member £48.50 (£40.42 + VAT)

Please note:

1. Online bookings will close at 12:00 midday on 28 October 2021.

2. A Zoom link to join the webinar will be sent to everyone registered on the webinar day.

To register for the webinar you need to sign into your BPS user account or create a new account by clicking the ‘create an account’ button. When signed in, click the ‘register’ button to book onto the workshop.

There is a £15 cancellation fee.

Professional Development Centre
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