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School closures linked to children’s poor mental health during Covid-19

The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people improved after schools reopened last year, a major study has revealed.

The analysis comes after hundreds of new mental health support services were deployed across schools in a bid to protect vulnerable children from the impact of Covid-19.

The State of the Nation report, published this week by the Department for Education (DfE), is among the first to highlight the experiences of young people aged five to 24 throughout the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

According to the research, children and young people’s wellbeing is “gradually improving” – but major challenges remain.

For instance, the report found a tangible link between regular attendance at school and college and mental health scores across all age groups. Primary and secondary pupils, however, were among the groups most likely to be positively impacted by schools reopening.

During the same time, millions of students were supported by hundreds of new mental health support services. So far, more than 8,000 eligible schools have applied for a senior mental health lead training grant since applications opened last year.

An online mental health platform, known as Student Space, is also supporting university students’ wellbeing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Commenting on the report, Children and Families Minister, Will Quince, said: “The resilience of children and young people should never be underestimated. Though they have coped remarkably well over the last few years, this report once again highlights that school is often the very best place for their education and wellbeing.

“These two things must go hand in hand, which is exactly why we are investing so significantly in mental health services, both by improving access to NHS services and by making tailored support available in schools and colleges, with training for staff to confidently deliver this.”

Click here to access the State of the Nation report.


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