A campaign aimed at helping children and young people look after their mental health launches today amid concern over the anxiety caused by lockdown.
New data from Public Health England (PHE) revealed that more than half of 2,559 parents surveyed said the mental wellbeing of their children has been one of their biggest worries during the pandemic.
The research also suggests that COVID-19 has caused an increase in anxiety in young people, and a third of young people aged 8-24 reported being more worried, sad and stressed than before lockdown.
“Children and young people have had their world turned upside down,” health minister Nadine Dorries told Sky News.
“They’ve not been with their friends, they’ve not been at school, their routine has been broken. We know they have felt anxious because it has been a scary world out there for young people.
“Feelings of anxiety and stress are a normal response. We’ve launched this website for parents and carers so they can access help and information.”
Jess Tunks, 17, went back to college in north London this week and says the lockdown period often left her struggling because she – and her teachers – had never had to deal with such a situation before.
“Before the virus, you could go to a teacher and say ‘Miss, how do I do this?’ But with COVID, there was no manual and you had to figure out so much by yourself. And you couldn’t see your friends or have your normal routine,” she said.
The Every Mind Matters campaign has been launched by PHE with a short film illustrated by artist Charlie Mackesy and featuring a host of well-known parents including Davina McCall, Marvin Humes, Katie Piper and Sean Fletcher.
“As young people go back to class, it’s understandable that while many will be excited to get back, some may also have concerns and anxieties about the new academic year,” said Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, NHS England associate national clinical director for children and young people’s mental health.
“Following the uncertainty and upheaval of COVID, this important campaign is offering practical tips to help kids cope.”
The campaign’s website offers a wealth of information to parents and carers of young children with the top tip urging them to “be there to listen”.
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