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Press release

Four in ten parents concerned children’s mental health worsens during lockdown

Researchers at EIF call for more emphasis and investment in children’s mental health

Published

10 Jan 2021

Contributor

A survey by Ipsos MORI for the Early Intervention Foundation of parents of a 4-16 year olds in England last year found four in ten (39%) said their child’s mental health and wellbeing declined during the first national lockdown during March-May. The researchers at EIF have concerns this time round could be even worse for children. 

London, 08/01/21 - A survey by Ipsos MORI for the Early Intervention Foundation of parents of a 4-16 year olds in England last year found four in ten (39%) said their child’s mental health and wellbeing declined during the first national lockdown during March-May. The researchers at EIF have concerns this time round could be even worse for children. 

Ipsos MORI found that the most common reason given by parents for believing their child’s mental health deteriorated during the first lockdown was a loss of contact with friends, which 82% believed played a role. The next most common reasons were: lack of daily routine (62%) and having to do home learning (40%). 

Fears around a child’s mental health affected the poorest hardest. 42% of parents with a household income under £34,999 reported their child’s mental health had worsened, compared with 28% of parents with a household income of more than £55,000. 

Younger parents were the most likely to be worried about their child’s mental health.

While two fifths of parents (39%) thought their child’s mental health worsened, only about one in five (17%) thought it got a lot better or a little better.  

Dr Jo Casebourne, chief executive of the Early Intervention Foundation commented: “Although this latest lockdown is necessary to curb the spread of the virus we mustn't lose sight of the fact it has massive ramifications for children. Understandably parents will be worrying about their children’s mental health and we need to do all we can to support them.

“That means upon the return to school, heads and teachers will need to concentrate not just on attainment and preparing for teacher assessments, but also on wellbeing. Without the focus on wellbeing, it’s unlikely that the growing gap in academic results between richer pupils and poorer pupils will be closed. We must make sure the harmful long-term impacts of the pandemic do not fall most heavily on the shoulders of the least well-off.” 

In a report out later this year, the Early Intervention Foundation will seek to understand what’s currently being done to prevent adolescent mental health problems in schools in the UK and to determine the effectiveness of school-based interventions aimed at preventing mental health problems. 

NOTES

Methodology:

This online survey by Ipsos MORI of 643 parents of children aged 4-16 years old in England was carried out between 28th August – 4th September 2020. Data are weighted to the national profile of adults according to gender, age within gender, social grade and region. 

About EIF:

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) is an independent charity that champions and supports the use of effective early intervention to improve the lives of children and young people at risk of experiencing negative outcomes. For more information, see: www.eif.org.uk    

MEDIA CONTACTS:  

Andy Ross, Senior Press Officer – 07949 339 975 / andy.ross@eif.org.uk

About the contributor

Dr Jo Casebourne

Jo is chief executive at EIF.