In this Editorial Perspective for the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Professor Cathy Creswell draws on current research to summarise how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of children and young people. Some key points include:
- Mental health problems seem to have increased since the beginning of the pandemic, especially in primary school-aged children.
- Studies comparing pre-pandemic with mid-pandemic mental health data have reported mixed findings, but these results might be influenced by sample characteristics, timing of assessments and developmental changes.
- The Co-SPACE study offers insight into the patterns of change over time and how this has differed by group:
- Findings show that low family-income and the presence of special educational needs/neurodevelopmental disorders among children are associated with elevated mental health symptoms throughout the pandemic; and,
- Primary-school children also exhibited pronounced increases in mental health symptoms at times of peak restriction.
- Although the pandemic has presented significant challenges in accessing mental health support, a number of trials are underway to develop evidence-informed, accessible solutions.
Read the full editorial here.