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.

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.

Artist's impression of mental health threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic

In a new policy 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 through their education and daily life, including challenges around social isolation, academic pressures, adjusting to online learning and coping with reopening of schools.

They also say there has been severe disruption to support services, and they point out how children and young people have been affected by the loss, trauma and financial insecurity linked to the pandemic which has occurred within wider society, communities and families.

To help address these short- and long-term effects, 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 experience trauma and loss.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website.

Similar stories

Wearing face coverings protected wearers from COVID-19 infection – large scale study

People who wore face coverings or masks outside of the home, and were more exposed to infection due to their circumstances, had ‘significantly’ lower rates of COVID-19 infection, according to research published in BMJ Open today, led by Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science.

Oxford-led team given £6.6m to map uncharted networks in the progression of Parkinson’s

A major new $9 million (£6.6 million) project funded by the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative will map the original circuits vulnerable to Parkinson’s on an unprecedented scale. It is the only UK-led ASAP project this year, and the first ever to be led by Oxford.

Tamoxifen repurposing study shows no benefit in treating deadly fungal meningitis

Hopes that tamoxifen could improve survival for a deadly form of fungal meningitis have been dashed by the results of a clinical trial conducted by University of Oxford researchers and published today in eLife.

Oxford researchers awarded funding to complete community COVID-19 antiviral trial

Researchers from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, have today announced that they have been awarded funding through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to work with several UK universities and carry out a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, testing novel antiviral COVID-19 treatments for use early on in the illness by people in the community with COVID-19 who are at higher risk of complications.

New therapeutic targets identified to treat inflammatory bowel disease

Millions of patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are given fresh hope as a new study shows why some of them do not respond to current treatments.

Oxford researchers call for an urgent re-evaluation of “weak” opioid safety profile

A new study associates dispensation doses of tramadol with increased risk of mortality, cardiovascular events, and fractures compared to the use of codeine to treat pain.