A father and son sitting at a table with hot drinks and serious facial expressions

Released 14 May 2020 Parent survey reveals widespread concerns about mental health impact of COVID-19 on young peopleā€™s mental health

YoungMinds is calling for Government action to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young peopleā€™s mental health, as a new survey reveals widespread concerns among parents and carers.

The charity YoungMinds has today published the results of a survey with more than 1,850 parents and carers, in which respondents expressed worries about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on their childrenā€™s mental health, and described the challenges they face in finding support. [1]

The results show that:

  • 67% of respondents agreed that they are concerned about the long-term impact of the coronavirus on their childā€™s mental health. This rose to 77% among parents and carers whose children had required mental health support in the previous three months. [2]
  • 29% of respondents disagreed that there was enough support (information, helplines and resources) available to help them and their child get through this time. 24% of respondents said that they would not know where to turn for advice and information on supporting their childrenā€™s mental health during this time.
  • Among respondents whose children had received mental health support in the previous three months (through the NHS, private providers, school counsellors, charities and helplines) 25% said that their child was no longer able to access it, but still needed it.
  • 66% of respondents said that the coronavirus had had a negative impact on their own mental health.

The charity is publishing the results as it launches Beyond Tomorrow, a campaign calling on the Government to take action now to limit the long-term impact of the pandemic on young peopleā€™s mental health.

The campaign urges the Government to ensure that young people who need mental health advice can get it, that there is increased support for families, and that schools are able to prioritise childrenā€™s wellbeing now and when it is safe for them to reopen. It also calls for continued investment in mental health services as restrictions change, to ensure that young people who have been affected can get ongoing support.

Parents and carers who took part in the survey reported that the pandemic had already affected their children in a wide range of ways, with many reporting an increase in anxiety and depression, a sense of loss and fear, difficulties coping with a lack of structure and routine, increased isolation and young people missing face-to-face contact with friends.

The charity also asked about the top concerns parents and carers had for the children and young people in their care. Many respondents were worried about how young people would transition back to ā€˜normalityā€™ when lockdown was eased and how this would affect their future. Other respondents talked about the pressure of balancing support for their childā€™s home-learning with work or other caring responsibilities, or the effect the pandemic was having on their childā€™s recovery from existing mental health conditions.

Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said:

ā€œThe coronavirus pandemic is the biggest health crisis for generations, and the restrictions the government has put in place have been absolutely necessary.

ā€œThe pandemic has also turned the lives of millions of children and young people upside down. Many young people are finding it hard to cope with isolation, a loss of routine, anxiety about the future, a disruption to their education, and in some cases difficult or traumatic experiences at home. Despite huge efforts from mental health professionals, young people with existing mental health needs often canā€™t get the same level of support as they had before the crisis.

ā€œAs our survey shows, many parents and carers are deeply worried about the long-term impact of the pandemic on the young people in their care, and donā€™t know where to turn for advice and support.

ā€œThatā€™s why the Government needs to take action, to make sure that support is available for young people and families who need it, now and as we emerge from the pandemic.ā€

As our survey shows, many parents and carers are deeply worried about the long-term impact of the pandemic on the young people in their care
Chief Executive, YoungMinds
Emma Thomas

The charityā€™s campaign Beyond Tomorrow is calling on the Government to:

  • Ensure thatĀ all young peopleĀ and familiesĀ who needĀ immediateĀ mental health supportĀ can get it, to prevent the pandemic from havingĀ long-term consequences for young peopleā€™s mental health.
  • HelpĀ schools and professionalsĀ to support young people with their mental health duringĀ the pandemic and as restrictions change.Ā 
  • Commit to introducing additionalĀ support for young peopleā€™s mental healthĀ as we emerge from the pandemic to tackle the anticipated rise in mental health needs.

YoungMinds is launching a petition aimed at the Government today.Ā 

Quotes from parents and carers

  • I worry about whether this will have a lasting impact. How long can we cope like this? How will their mental health be affected when lockdown finishes and we go back to normal?
  • My son was having therapy prior to lockdown and was beginning to see positive improvements in his mental health. Since the lockdown he is regressing more and experiencing lower mood.
  • My daughter is finding it hard not seeing other kids. She seems depressed. She doesn't want to come out of her room much or engage with other activities.

YoungMinds is the UKā€™s leading charity fighting for young peopleā€™s mental health. For more information please visitĀ www.youngminds.org.uk

Follow us on TwitterĀ @YoungMindsUKĀ andĀ Facebook

The charity previously publishedĀ results from a survey with young peopleĀ about the mental health impact of COVID-19

For free advice and support for parents, call our helpline on 0808 802 5544

[1] The survey was hosted on surveygizmo.uk between Thursday 9thĀ April and Sunday 10thĀ May, and promoted through advertising on social media on social media. 1,854 parents and carers took part. See accompanying summary of results for more information.

[2] Among the respondents, 745 parents said that their children had received mental health support in the previous three months.