Young people call for action on mental health

Child mental health web crop

Barnardo’s survey reveals impact of lockdown across the UK.

13th July 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Young people are calling for action on mental health after a survey revealed they felt they had been “ignored” by politicians during the Covid-19 crisis.

The survey for Barnardo’s found that young people around the UK regarded official information about the virus to be confusing, negative and often untrustworthy, with just 17% saying they were satisfied.

In many cases this led to their own mental health problems being exacerbated, Barnardo’s said.

The charity has now published a report - Mental Health and COVID-19: In our Own Words – in which young people set out a range of recommendations for decision-makers as the UK’s nations begin easing the lockdown.

These include calls to involve children and young people in recovery plans, provide free summer activities, prioritise young people’s welfare in the education system and provide targeted information to young people.

There were also recommendations to guarantee opportunities in education, employment and training for 16-25 year olds, develop and trial alternative mental health therapies and provide long-term funding for support services and review current child mental health policies to ensure support is available to everyone who needs it.

The report states it is vital for politicians to understand the disproportionate impact the pandemic and lockdown has had on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. A recent poll of for Barnardo’s found that at least a third of those aged 8-24 had experienced worsening mental health and wellbeing during lockdown.

Javed Khan, Barnardo’s chief executive, said: “The coronavirus lockdown has felt like a lifetime for children and young people, and the negative effects could last a real lifetime if they do not have the right support for their mental health and wellbeing. 

"This is particularly true for the vulnerable children Barnardo’s supports including children in the care system, children at risk of abuse and children from BAME communities.

“It’s vital we take immediate action - with programmes over the summer and when children return to school, and in the longer term we owe it to children to ‘build back better’ with a system that is radically better than the one we had before.”