Mental health issues among young likely to rise – charity

March 30, 2020 11:01:00 PM

The number of young people who struggle with mental health problems is likely to rise due to the coronavirus pandemic, a charity has warned.

YoungMinds said that the spread of the virus is already having a major impact on children with mental health issues.

Meanwhile, others will be experiencing anxiety for the first time.

The charity questioned more than 2,000 British people aged 25 and younger with mental health needs.

Four in five (83%) said the pandemic had made their mental health problem “worse”.

Among those who were accessing mental health services in the run up to the crisis, 74% said they were still getting the same level of support.

Face-to-face calls with friends, watching TV and films, exercise and learning new skills were among the activities helping those questioned.

The charity warned that the pandemic is a “mental health risk” for the whole of society.

Its report added that this is an “extremely difficult” time for children and young people suffering with their mental health.

Emma Thomas, chief executive of YoungMinds, said: “The results of this survey show just how big an impact this has had, and will continue to have, on the mental health of young people.

“We need to find ways to help those young people who have lost their support – not least because, in many cases, they have also lost many of their coping mechanisms, including contact with friends or routines that help them to manage their conditions.

“We also know that many young people who previously might not have needed mental health support are likely to do so in future.

“As the impact of the pandemic and the restrictions on their lives continues to sink in, more young people are likely to struggle.

“The Government must fully recognise the growing mental health impact that Covid-19 will continue to have on children and young people, and ensure that addressing this is a key component of the ongoing response.”

It comes as separate research was launched by the University of Oxford looking into the impact of Covid-19 on young people’s mental health.

The study will track young people’s mental health as they navigate the crisis.

Professor Cathy Creswell, of the University of Oxford’s Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology, said: “Research has provided valuable information about how parents and carers can support their children’s mental health in general.

“However, at this point, we know very little about what might be most effective in the current context of Covid-19.

“We hope to have more than 10,000 parents and carers across the UK complete the new online survey.

“Their responses will help us really understand how families are coping and what support could make all the difference to children, young people and their families at this time.”

For more information on the University of Oxford study visit: www.emergingminds.org.uk.

For more information from YoungMinds visit: www.youngminds.org.uk.

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