Emerging evidence #1
Coronavirus and children and young people’s mental health
In our new Emerging Evidence series, we searched for evidence published during the pandemic from around the world, to help us begin to answer three questions:
- What are the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic?
- Are there any particularly vulnerable groups?
- What might help children and young people to manage these challenges?
Our first review was carried out between January 1st and May 4th 2020. We will provide regular updates to ensure we share the evidence with a wide audience in a timely fashion.
Coronavirus research bite #1
Self-management strategies for young people experiencing anxiety
Many strategies have been suggested for helping with anxiety, including social support, apps, exercise, the arts, relaxation and mindfulness.
Evidence suggests that online courses (e.g. computerised CBT) and various kinds of physical exercise could help young people who are feeling anxious. However, many of the self-management strategies available to young people haven’t been evaluated, or where they have, often there isn’t strong enough evidence to help us understand their effectiveness. This doesn’t mean that these strategies aren’t useful for young people who are struggling with anxiety, it mostly means they haven’t been explored enough through research. Motivation is quite important in the success of interventions so young people being able to choose strategies they enjoy might help.
Download & share Research Bite #1
Click to view the Centre's previous research What Works for Me: The self-care approaches used by children and young people or to view our self-care resource for young people which was written by young people.
Coronavirus research bite #2
Supporting children and young people with unplanned endings
While schools are closed to most people and social distancing measures are in place, young people are experiencing a variety of endings that they may not have been prepared for. Endings under these circumstances can understandably be difficult for children and young people to navigate.
Our rapid review of the research literature suggests that there are several ways in which adults can support children and young people to experience more positive endings. These strategies include preparation – while it may not always be possible under current circumstances, preparation gives young people time to come to terms with change and for networks and support to be established. It can be helpful too to focus on accomplishments rather than losses, and to be honest but hopeful about the future.
Research also suggests that regular conversations to check in with young people about their worries and hopes may be helpful in managing expectations, and normalising worries and anxieties. In addition, where possible, sustaining support networks (for instance through digital channels) may help young people to feel connected and supported.
To keep informed of the latest coronavirus research, resources and learning opportunities from the Centre, please join the free Anna Freud Learning Network.