A study reviewing evidence on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s mental health and wellbeing has been published by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).
The research reviewed previously published UK data and undertook new analysis, looking for trends broken down by groups such as age, gender and disadvantage.
While the picture is complex, the research did suggest that:
- Secondary-aged girls were more likely than secondary-aged boys to have experienced a decline in their mental health during the pandemic; secondary-aged boys’ mental health showed some signs of improvement during the same period.
- Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities had lower wellbeing and mental health before the pandemic and this persisted through the pandemic.
- Disadvantaged children and young people were not more negatively impacted during the pandemic than their non-disadvantaged peers, but it is clear that disadvantage is associated with lower overall wellbeing and mental health.
- Evidence suggests that the restrictions in early 2021 may have had a more negative impact on mental health and wellbeing than those at the start of the pandemic (March-June 2020).
- For some young people, particularly those with pre-existing poorer mental health, the first lockdown (March-June 2020) may have been associated with some improvement in their mental health.