Health advice for families

When your child is ill or injured, it is very difficult to decide if/when to call your child's GP, NHS 111 or go to the accident and emergency department (A&E). During the current situation, it can be confusing to know what to do. These posters include guidance on what to do and which service to use:

We have put together the following links where you will find some helpful and practical information about your family’s health.

Government and NHS advice and guidance - for the latest, up-to-date COVID-19 guidance.

NHS website - for an extensive range of health advice for everyone around COVID-19.

NHS111 - can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. If you are concerned about a child under five, please telephone 111 rather than seeking help through the web site. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

General Information for parents

Resource pack for parents during isolation: information, advice and activity sheets for children and how to stay healthy and safe during the COVID-19 outbreak

Dorset HealthCare School Nursing - you will find lots of very helpful information relating to school age children.

Chat Health - are you aged 11-19 and living in Dorset? Our school nurses are still here to help with all kinds of things in these unsettling times. Just text #ChatHealthNHS to 07480 635511 and we will reply Ts&Cs.

Dorset Local Authority - online resources for families packed full of amazing ideas and things to do with children at this time. It covers a wide range of interests and ages and is well worth a look!

Dorset Local Authority - also set up a Facebook page for families where you can share messages and ideas and has links to other related pages.

LiveWell Dorset – Information on adult health, such as getting active/losing weight/stop smoking/drink less.

Family Information Service - provides information on support offered by children’s centres across the borough:

Wessex Healthier Together – provide lots of very practical advice to parents and has a section specific to COVID-19.

The Institute of Health Visiting - has excellent advice about parenting through COVID-19 and offer top tips to parents from birth to five years, with downloadable fact sheets covering a wide range of issues that parents may face.

Well Child – information for parents with children with complex health needs.

Start4Life printable information on feeding/diet/exercise/immunisations.

The Lullaby Trust downloadable information and printable fact sheets about safe sleep advice for parents of babies (available in various languages).

Healthy Start – provides information about healthy start vouchers/vitamins and an option to complete an online application form. Download our form here.

Parenting/Family Lives – for advice on all aspects of parenting including dealing with bullying.

Children’s Guide to Coronavirusa very helpful downloadable resource from the Children’s Commissioner, with a link to a video and worry buster exercise for children. There is also a handy factsheet for children here.

Mums who use Mush can chat with other Mums, get advice from parenting experts and fellow mums, join chat groups and much more. Mush has been selected by NHS England as an innovation that is improving maternal mental health in the UK.

Babies cry - you can cope. During this challenging time, stress levels at home may be increased. Icon provide guidance for coping with your babies crying. Check out this quick guide to help parents or visit the website for more information.

It's hard for young children to understand COVID-19 and the change in our lifestyle. Take a look at these child friendly resources that you can share and talk about wih your children:

Coronavirus - Parent Information for newborn babies leaflet

Immunisation FAQs

The Fatherhood Institute

What to do when your child is unwell

My child is unwell whilst we are isolating with COVID-19,  What should I do? Take a look at this quick and easy guide about what to do if your baby or child is unwell.

For information and videos about breathing difficulties in babies and children, please click here for advice from Wessex Healthier Together.

Also click here if your baby or child is finding it hard to breathe and here if you are worried about infants over three months.

Illness in newborn babies leaflet

Coronavirus symptoms in children

Pregnancy information

If you have recently found out you are pregnant and want to find out a bit more about what to expect from your pregnancy visit Maternity Matters Dorset – Bumps and Beyond . There is a section for dads and partners too, where you can download a DadPad, an App which gives new dads to be the knowledge and practical skills to support themselves and their partner.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – provide very clear succinct information from professional bodies regarding the Government advice around risk to pregnant women.

Breastfeeding course

Our breastfeeding team’s online course is a complete guide to the basics of breastfeeding for pregnant and postnatal women.

The free course can be completed anytime,anywhere and also addresses mental health and the involvement of partners.

To access this interactive and engaging course visit

Perinatal and infant mental health

Our Dorset Healthcare service provides care and support for women experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and up to one year after giving birth. Our website provides information, leaflets, guides and contact details.

The Institute of Health Visiting provides helpful information for those who are pregnant, with links to bonding with your baby, mental health and emotional wellbeing.


Dorpip - We are an attachment parenting service who specialise in the infant-parent relationship. We support families with talking therapy to nurture a safe and secure relationship with their infants - helping to give children the best possible start in life. If you feel you need gentle, confidential support to talk about the challenges of being a parent, please look at our website for more information or email us at

Partner perinatal mental health

This You Tube video shows father Mark Williams and Dr Andy Mayers from Bournemouth University talk about perinatal mental health issues in partners following traumatic birth experiences. The video also features another Dad, a father of twins, describing what happened when the birth of his twins went very wrong and how he felt.

BBC News - story about a father (Dan) and his struggles with mental health; this is a very helpful clip about a father’s struggle with perinatal mental health issues and how he is now helping others.

Resources from the Perinatal and infant mental health drop down are also available to help for partner perinatal mental health.

General mental health information

Steps to Wellbeing - support for parents/carers with mild to moderate depression and anxiety disorders with information on self-referral options. Dorset Healthcare's professional lead for Psychology and Psychotherapy, Meherzin Das, gives tips on how to maintain your health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to view.

The NHS ‘Every Mind Matters’ offers a wide range of practical and useful tips to keeping us emotionally well at present.

Connection is Dorset Healthcare’s 24/7 phone helpline for people of all ages in Dorset who are experiencing mental health issues and need support. Dorset residents or people visiting Dorset can call direct on 0300 123 5440 or access via NHS 111.

In this video Karen Treisman, a clinical psychologist gives useful points on how to take care of ourselves and be self-compassionate at this time.You can find more resources like this for coping with COVID-19 stress and anxiety at Safehandsthinkingminds

Young Minds - is an organisation that provides support and Information on Child and adolescent mental health services for parents and professionals. Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Monday – Friday, 9.30am – 4pm).

Papyrus - a young suicide prevention society have a helpline 0800 068 4141 (Weekdays 10am -10pm/Weekends and Bank Holidays 2-10pm).

Mental Health Foundation – here you can find lots of practical guidance on taking care of your mental health at this time.

Government guidance for the public around mental health during COVID-19:

An official government website sharing advice on what can help you with your mental health and wellbeing.

5 steps to mental wellbeing - NHS guidance around looking after your mental health during COVID-19.


For advice on safeguarding during COVID-19, please visit this page.

Men’s Advice Line:

Domestic abuse affects men too, call 0808 8010327 or visit

Galop - a LGBT and anti-violence charity with a national helpline for lesbian gay, bisexual and trans people experiencing domestic abuse. Tel: 0800 9995428 - ‘Shout’ provides free, confidential support 24/7 via text and is able to offer support with suicidal thoughts/abuse or assault/self harm/bullying and relationship challenges.

Calm - has a national helpline for men. Tel: 0800 585858 (5pm-midnight, 365 days of the year).



Health and care services across Dorset have launched a new campaign called #HereForYou

It has been launched following concerns that people may not be seeking the help they need for themselves and their families because of COVID-19.

While the way services are being delivered may be different, patients should still access services when they need to, and not delay because of a fear of accessing services.

While GPs have changed the way they work - making the most of available technology including online consultations and video conferencing - patients should still talk to their GP when they feel they have a medical need and the most appropriate consultation will be offered to patients.

Your GP will be carefully advising patients individually on any routine or urgent procedures and blood tests that should go ahead and are doing all they can to ensure that if patients are brought to the surgery, it will be done in as safe a way as possible.

If any person has a symptom that could be suggestive of a stroke or heart attack, or could be a sign of a cancer, it is essential that they don’t delay seeking advice.

Parents should still ensure that their children are immunised during this time.

Mums to be must also ensure that they keep scheduled appointments with their midwife and if you are worried with anything to do with yourself and your baby; for example, your baby is not moving as much as normal, please do not delay and get in touch with your local maternity service. Visit Maternity Matters for information and tips about caring for yourself, your baby, attending your antenatal appointments and read how maternity services are working operating during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Urgent dental care service - urgent dental centres have been set-up to support people with an urgent or emergency dental condition. To access treatment you should contact your dental practice by phone to discuss a referral. Anyone currently unregistered with a practice should call 111.

Latest Government updates and guidance on COVID-19




BCP Council support

Do you know someone who is self-isolating who might need assistance? Or do you need help with access to food and support?

BCP Council can help with:

  • deliveries of food and other essentials
  • advice about access to food
  • loneliness and wellbeing issues
  • prescription collection.

The number is 0300 123 7052 and the line is open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. A voicemail service is available for anyone calling after 5pm and during the weekend, or you can use the online form.



COVID-19 hub