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Children’s charity Barnardo’s has released a report this week that looks at how COVID-19 has affected the mental health of children and young people in the UK.  A survey of 4,000 eight to twenty-four-year olds looked at the impact of the pandemic and found that 41% were feeling more lonely than before lockdown, 38% were more worried, 37% more sad and 34% more stressed. A third said they had more trouble sleeping, which could have a knock-on effect on schoolwork, behavioural issues and family life. A key theme was children and young people feeling they are being ignored by decision-makers during the pandemic, with just 17% feeling satisfied with the information that was targeted at them. Young people said they found information confusing, negative and often untrustworthy and this had contributed to their anxieties and fears around the virus. The results are published in a report, entitled Mental Health and COVID-19: In Our Own Words, which the charity co-produced with ten young people. The report demands that the government involves children and young people in ‘recovery planning’ and recognises the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable. It also demands clear and timely information that is accessible to children and to ensure that mental health and wellbeing approaches prioritise prevention and early intervention. Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “The coronavirus lockdown has felt like a lifetime for children and young people, and the negative effects could last a real lifetime if they do not have the right support for their mental health and wellbeing.” Read more here.

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