Co-SPACE Ireland Study
With the country now under further Covid-19 restrictions, a University of Limerick study has been examining the effect that lockdown can have on the mental health of children and adolescents.
Early results from the study, which asked parents and carers about their children’s mental health through the COVID-19 crisis, show:
- Parents/carers of primary school age children taking part in the survey reported no significant increase in their child’s emotional, behavioural, and restless/attentional difficulties. However, emotional difficulties, such as feeling unhappy, worried, being clingy and experiencing physical symptoms associated with worry were slightly elevated at baseline and follow-up
- Parents/carers of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and those with a pre-existing mental health difficulty reported a reduction in their child’s emotional difficulties and no change in behavioural or restless/attentional difficulties
- Adolescents taking part in the survey reported no change in their own emotional or behavioural difficulties, and a reduction in their restless/attentional difficulties
Dr McMahon said, “Our findings indicate that emotional and attentional difficulties increased throughout the period for primary school aged children, but not to a significant level. However emotional difficulties were raised at baseline – which was about three weeks into school closure.
“Also, our sister study in the UK, which had over 10,000 participants, found significant increases on these aspects which suggests that this trend is important,” she added.