The survey conducted for Barnado’s by YouGov shows the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in Britain could still be worsening a year on after the pandemic first struck.
In an online poll more than 4,000 children and young people aged eight-24 across Great Britain were asked about how they were feeling now compared to before the pandemic.
More than half of 16 to 24-year-olds surveyed said they were feeling stressed (58%), worried (54%), sad (52%) and lonely (56%) more now than before the coronavirus pandemic. Conversely, few young adults aged 16 to 24 reported feeling less stressed (9%), less worried (8%), less sad (10%) and less lonely (11%) now than before the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of 16-24-year-olds reporting struggling with their mental health and wellbeing has increased from last year suggesting mental health and wellbeing has worsened despite the recent positive news about the vaccine rollout and the lifting of restrictions.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“Barnardo's has consistently warned that the negative effects of the pandemic could last a lifetime if children and young people don't have the right support. Our survey adds further weight to the argument that children must be front and centre of the Government’s plans for the post-Covid period.
"The pandemic and repeated lockdowns have been hugely traumatic for children, with months away from school, separation from friends and relatives, anxiety about the virus and financial pressures at home are taking a serious toll on their mental health. Added to that are concerns about their current and future job prospects.
“Given children’s exposure to unprecedented levels of trauma, loss and adversity during the pandemic, schools should all be providing support with mental health and wellbeing and 'summer classes' must not just be about academic catch-up, but also about giving children space to play, re-connect with friends and build their resilience.
"We need a radically different approach to improving outcomes for the ‘lockdown generation’ – including longer term thinking and funding, with a strong focus on stepping in early to support children and young people before they reach crisis point.”