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New projects to tackle the effects of COVID-19 on mental health in children and young people

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions appear to have had a negative effect on the mental health of the nation, with one in five adults in Great Britain experiencing some form of depression. Similar trends are emerging among children and young people, with children of primary school age showing higher levels of emotional difficulties, behavioural difficulties, and restlessness and attention difficulties.

Six new research projects totalling £2 million, funded by the National Institute for Health Research and UKRI’s Medical Research Council, will investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of three at-risk groups: healthcare workers, children and younger people, and people with serious mental health problems.

This briefing outlined what is known so far about COVID-19 and mental health and also bring together researchers leading three projects that will specifically focus on the mental health of children and young people:

  • Enabling Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to provide efficient remote treatment for child anxiety problems in the COVID-19 context
  • Intersections of ethnicity, gender, poverty and mental health in adolescence in the context of COVID-19
  • A school-based cohort study of COVID-19 secondary impacts on mental health


Speakers included:

Prof Dame Til Wykes, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation at King’s College London and senior NIHR mental health spokesperson

Prof Cathy Creswell, Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology and NIHR Research Professor, University of Oxford

Prof Craig Morgan, Professor of Social Epidemiology and Head of the Health Service and Population Research Department at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London

Prof Mireille Toledano, Mohn Chair; Population Child Health and Director, Mohn Centre, Imperial College London

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