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“I’m broken: how anxiety and stress hit millions in UK Covid-19 lockdown” (The Guardian)

On 21 June 2020, Robin McKie (Science Editor) wrote a piece in The Guardian that made reference to the Co-Space study.

“These are not natural ways for younger children to interact, and as a result they are left isolated and anxious”

Professor Cathy Creswell, of Oxford University, said a recent study of 10,000 families in the UK suggested primary school children were much more troubled by lockdown compared with secondary school pupils.

“Parents in our study reported significant increases in behavioural and emotional problems – tantrums and disobedience – for children aged 4 to 10 during lockdown while for those aged 11 to 16, parents actually reported a decrease in these problems,” she told The Observer.

As well as being less reliant on their often stressed parents during the day, a major factor, Creswell believed, may involve teenagers’ ability to keep contact with their peers, using phones and computers. “These are not natural ways for younger children to interact, and as a result they are left isolated and anxious.”

The crucial point is, as such stress takes root, it may leave this generation of young children much more vulnerable to anxiety and other difficulties as they grow older. “We need to provide support for these children, and even if that comes at a cost, we should be aware that the longer-term cost to the country will be far greater if this issue is not addressed now,” she warned.

Creswell said studies suggest families with children who have anxiety disorders or other mental health problems pay a heavy price. “They have been found to lose an average of £5,000 of annual income, mainly through lost employment – because they have to miss or give up work because their children cannot go to school or have to be taken to clinics.

“At the same time, there is a cost to society. It has to provide support for affected families, and providing that help is 20 times more costly than the support needed for an average family.”

Read the full article on the Guardian website.