Tools to Understand & Support Young Minds

From the surging rates in mental health problems to concerns of increasing levels of neglect and abuse, the lockdown continues to have a devastating effect on the nation’s children.

The Pandemic Lockdown – Closing Schools = Closing Lives

The lockdown and the closure of schools in many regions has not only proven to be damaging to our children’s education but also to their mental and emotional wellbeing. Schools and other outdoor spaces like libraries, public pools, malls, etc. are all places where kids get a chance to socialise, connect, and develop emotionally as well as socially. For some, in fact, it is a refuge and sanctuary from a troubled life at home.
The pandemic has caused a range of harms to children across the nation, with the most common one being mental health concerns. And unsurprisingly, there are clear and present signs of the upheaval in children’s mental wellbeing – according to a 2020 report published by The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, it was revealed that 1 in 6 children between 5 and 16 suffered from a probable mental health disorder. This was up from 1 in 9 from the previous year.

A closer look at the Mental Health Effects of The Lockdown

Loneliness is considered one of the key risk factors for mental health concerns in young people following the lockdown. There’s emerging evidence that despite the shared experience of stay-at-home, children and young people are experiencing severe bouts of loneliness and social withdrawal.
Some reports have suggested that due to children experiencing a lack of social contact with others, boredom has become a widespread concern, as well as a fear of uncertainty since school schedules have been thrown upside down. Seeing their parents’ financial worries is also linked with children’s mental health wellbeing.
All in all, the pandemic-induced lockdown has had a devastating effect on young children’s wellbeing as anxiety levels continue to mount. Many have reported panic attacks, losing motivation to study or looking forward to a bright future.
A January 2021 survey revealed that young people have found it much harder to cope with this pandemic than any previous one in history. The survey involved just under 2,500 pupils aged under 14, where 75% reported it was much harder to cope with the current pandemic; 67% said the lockdown will have a long-lasting negative impact on their mental wellbeing, and; 79% said that their mental health would improve once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Closing Thoughts and Next Steps

Mental health problems in young school-going people have become a significant public health concern in the UK today. The lockdown has exacerbated mental health concerns in children who were already suffering silently from mental ills and social shortcomings.
The waiting time at CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) is anywhere between 12-18 months on average. In fact, many children’s parents consider themselves lucky if they can even get an initial assessment within a month.
Aiding Minds works with schools to identify cases of child mental health at the early stage before they hit crisis point. Working with the school’s mental health lead, we help them put specific interventions in place, through our tried-and-true 3-wave approach.