The results of a survey with teachers and school staff into the impact of the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown on young people’s mental health have been published today, revealing the significant concerns staff have for the wellbeing of their pupils as we emerge from the pandemic.
Mental health charity YoungMinds carried out the survey  with 1,135 teachers and members of school or college staff  between Friday 15th May and Monday 1st June in the lead up to schools re-opening to a larger number of students.
The results show that:
- 74% of respondents agreed that schools being closed to most students over the period of lockdown has had a negative impact on the mental health of young people.
- 88% of respondents agreed that a lack of structure and routine has had an effect on student wellbeing, while79%thought that increased anxiety stemming from the pandemic has had an effect.
- 73% of respondents reported concern about young people spending more time in unsuitable home environments over the course of the lockdown period and as schools gradually reopen.
- 78% of respondents reported that additional pastoral support, such as in-school counselling, would be helpful, in order to support children as they return to school.
The results of the survey are being published as schools gradually welcome more pupils back into the classroom, after months of living and learning at home.
YoungMinds warns that there will be a rise in young people who need some form of mental health support as a result of the pandemic. The charity is concerned that many schools may lack the necessary resources to meet the demand, especially when thresholds for referrals to NHS support are often high.
Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said:
“We know that the coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on the lives of millions of children and young people across the country. In some cases, they have been through traumatic experiences at home, witnessing abuse or the deaths of friends and family, while others have struggled with missing friends, losing the structure of school or no longer being able to access the support they rely upon. If we don’t support young people now, the long-term impact could be huge.
“While returning to school is likely to be positive for many young people’s mental health, the readjustment following a long break and the changes schools are having to make to their environment and timetables will be very challenging for many. Schools need to be able to make wellbeing their top priority now and through the Autumn term, and need government support to help them to do that.
“We know that around a third of schools currently do not provide school-based mental health support, and that many young people who are struggling to cope may not meet the criteria for NHS mental health services in their area. That’s why we are calling on the Government to provide ring-fenced funding to ensure that schools can bring in extra support where it’s needed to help pupils and parents.” 
10,000 people have so far signed YoungMinds’ petition calling for the Government to support young people’s mental health during this pandemic.