Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In the Briefing, a team of researchers at King’s College London and Oxford University highlight the multiple effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children and young people in the UK in their education and daily life, including challenges around social isolation, academic pressures, adjusting to online learning and coping with reopening of schools.

In a new Policy Briefing, researchers have outlined 14 steps that schools, mental health services and policymakers can take to help children and young people whose mental health has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research team has set out potential solutions that can be put into place within schools, mental health services, and the wider policy and practice environment. They suggest:

  • Equipping school staff to normalise conversations about mental health to identify who needs help
  • Taking a ‘whole school approach’ to children’s mental health that involves parents, carers, public health teams, governors and teachers.
  • Maintaining or increasing financial support of families facing hardship caused or exacerbated by the pandemic
  • Reforming the benefit system and universal credit, and exploring the feasibility of implementing a guaranteed income scheme
  • Reviewing digital education tools and investing in those that have improved children’s experience of education
  • Bridging the digital divide by providing children with internet access and IT equipment needed for their education.
  • Allowing some children to have a gradual return to conventional learning through a hybrid model
  • Strengthening the provision of early interventions and greater support at times of transition
  • Developing open access mental health services for young people up to the age of 25
  • Assessing the impact of changes, such as more online mental health services during the pandemic
  • Improving links between schools and families
  • Investing sufficient resources in special education, support care and mental health funding
  • Providing COVID-19-related mental health resources for those who have experienced trauma and loss.

Professor Cathy Creswell, Director, UKRI Emerging Minds Network and Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford, said: 

'In seeking to limit the impacts of the pandemic on young people and provide much needed supports, we need a multi-pronged approach that incorporates actions in each of these settings. This is so that we can foster the environments in which young people can thrive – in communities, in schools, and at home – and provide the mental health care that an increasing number of young people need.'

FIND OUT MORE:

Read the full story.

Download the briefing.

Development of the Policy Briefing has been led by The Policy Institutethe Emerging Minds network, and the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health

Similar stories

New Research Highlights Importance of Early Years Development on Future Wellbeing

Oxford researchers involved nearly 4,000 children across the UK in three specially developed science lessons to educate pupils about brain development during early childhood. The SEEN (Secondary Education around Early Neurodevelopment) project was commissioned and funded by KindredSquared and is part of a wider drive to increase public understanding of how early experiences can shape the adults we become.

Evaluating risk to people with epilepsy during the COVID-19 pandemic - study wins international prize

In May 2020 our researchers initiated a global project to investigate how COVID-19 has affected people with epilepsy, their carers and health care workers.

Oxfordshire Young People Involved in Childline Research Project

New research conducted by the Neuroscience, Ethics and Society group and NeurOX Young People’s Advisory Group in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, and the NSPCC, has looked at how Childline’s message boards help support young people.

New European initiative to accelerate the discovery and validation of biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases

Members of the European Platform for Neurodegenerative Diseases (EPND) will establish a collaborative platform for efficient sample and data sharing, linking existing European research infrastructures to accelerate the discovery of biomarkers, new diagnostics and treatments for the benefit of people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

PTSD in healthcare workers during pandemic could be exacerbated by past trauma

While some of the high rates of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) seen in healthcare workers during the pandemic are specifically COVID-19-related, a more significant number of cases were linked to trauma that occurred earlier in their lives, researchers at the University of Oxford have found.