A recent review of research suggests that the Covid-19 isolation measures such as school closures, social distancing, and quarantine at home could have a much longer impact on mental health in general and on the wellbeing of young people in particular. (Read the paper by Dr Loades and her colleagues here.) Containment and lock down increase feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness and social isolation in possibly more than one in three teenagers. These feelings may not be going away quickly after the measures have been lifted, research suggests, some evidence points towards effects that last up to nine years long. This could have an important negative impact on the development of our teenager’s identity, their sense of belonging and their future independence. The researchers suggest a number of practical strategies to promote mental health among children and adolescents, such as ensuring that young people know who to turn to for support; enabling social connection between children and young people so that they feel part of a group; helping young people to find activities, structure and purpose during lockdown; prioritising social reconnection, including through play, as lockdown eases; and messaging in schools and communities about how to promote mental health and wellbeing. These recommendations together with the outcomes of the research within Fit to Belong are taken into account in the development of the concrete outcomes in our project, teaching, learning and support materials. Read more about the Loneliness and Reconnection guide, a brief, practical guide for parents, teachers and practitioners about what loneliness is and what help can be found.
This project is funded by Erasmus+