1. Emerging evidence
  2. Coronavirus research bite #6
  3. Coronavirus research bite #5
  4. Coronavirus research bite #4
  5. Coronavirus research bite #3
  6. Coronavirus research bite #2
  7. Coronavirus research bite #1
  8. Additional support

Emerging evidence

Coronavirus and children and young people’s mental health

In our 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?
  • What are the key mental health challenges for
    disproportionately affected groups?
  • What might help children and young people to manage these challenges?

Our concluding issue (Issue 8) aims to summarise what we have learned, and sets out recommendations for supporting children and young people’s mental health as the pandemic continues and beyond.

The Emerging evidence series is a collaboration between the Evidence Based Practice Unit (EBPU) and the Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC).

Download & share Issue 1

Issue 1, 22nd May 2020

Download & share Issue 2

Issue 2, 17th June 2020

Issue 3, 26th August 2020

Download & share Issue 3

Download & share Issue 8

Issue 8, 23rd June 2021. Download the recommendations from Issue 8.

Download & share Issue 7

Issue 7, 20th April 2021

Download & share Issue 6

Issue 6, 16th February 2021

Download & share Issue 5

Issue 5, 11th December 2020

Download & share Issue 4

Issue 4, 21st October 2020

Coronavirus research bite #6

A brief review of protective factors for positive mental health among children and young people of colour

There is growing recognition that the coronavirus pandemic may be exacerbating existing inequalities that already pose risks to people of colour in the UK, meaning that children and young people of colour may be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Careful consideration of the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people colour is vital to inform efforts to support positive outcomes and resilience.

This research bite draws on the literature about protective factors to support positive mental health or wellbeing among children and young people of colour. It highlights that studies have found particular protective factors that may lead to positive mental health outcomes in the context of adversity, while recognising the critical need to address the very real risks that people of colour and other minoritised groups face due to social inequalities, discrimination, and systemic racism. 

Download & share research bite #6

Coronavirus research bite #5

Supporting pupil mental health and wellbeing during the return to school

Parents, carers, pupils and teachers may have understandable worries  about returning to school after the summer break. Recent results from school staff surveys highlight concerns regarding the mental wellbeing of pupils and the importance of prioritising mental health support in the return to school process.

In this research bite, we draw on emerging literature from countries and contexts where schools have reopened after the coronavirus pandemic lockdown to identify the key factors that should be considered for reopening schools in relation to pupils’ mental health.

Download & share research bite #5

Coronavirus research bite #4

Sleep hygiene during the pandemic

During the pandemic children and young people will have experienced huge changes to their everyday routines, and evidence suggests that some are experiencing worries and anxiety as a result of the pandemic. These factors can all impact on sleep.

This research bite looks at the importance of sleep hygiene for children, young people and families. By sleep hygiene, we mean changes we can make to our habits and environments to promote good sleep. The research bite considers how sleep might have been affected during the coronavirus pandemic, and suggests some simple strategies to help children, young people and families to look after and improve their sleep hygiene at this time.

Download & share research bite #4

Coronavirus research bite #3

Talking to children and young people about the pandemic

During this challenging time, adults may understandably want to protect children from distress, and might avoid talking about the implications of the coronavirus pandemic or the difficult feelings that some people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus.

This research bite looks at how we can have conversations with children and young people about the coronavirus and the impact it is having on our lives. Although the current context is unprecedented, past research can help us to understand how providing information and communicating with children and young people during difficult situations could be an important aspect of community-led responses to the pandemic.

Download & share research bite #3

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.

Download & share research bite #2

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.

Additional support

Discover more about the advice and support we're providing to young people, parents and carers, schools and colleges, those working in early years settings, and mental health professionals

To keep informed of the latest coronavirus research, resources and learning opportunities from the Centre, please join the free Anna Freud Learning Network.

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