COVID-19 resources

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Emerging evidence: coronavirus and children and young people's mental health: issue 5

Evidence Based Practice Unit

A rapid review of the evidence on the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how parents, carers, and professionals can help them to manage and minimise these challenges. This bulletin outlines results of a rapid review of research identified in literature searches between 13th July and 30th August. The evidence that the coronavirus pandemic is having a negative impact on the mental health of children and young people continues to build – large studies found increases in the prevalence of anxiety and depression among young people during the pandemic. Young people with pre-existing mental health conditions are particularly impacted by the pandemic and many are experiencing an increase in symptoms. During the pandemic, many young people with physical health conditions and disabilities have been affected by social isolation and have experienced negative effects on their wellbeing. However, young people with pre-existing conditions are not affected uniformly, with some experiencing lower levels of mental health difficulties than peers. There is some evidence that LGBTQ+ children and young people are experiencing greater mental health impacts during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 17 February 2021

Emerging evidence: coronavirus and children and young people's mental health: issue 4

Evidence Based Practice Unit

A rapid review of the evidence on the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how parents, carers, and professionals can help them to manage and minimise these challenges. It is the fourth of a series of reviews and captures research identified between 15th June and 5th July 2020. During the extended periods of local lockdowns and home confinement, children and young people have displayed a range of psychological distress. Lack of outdoor activities, poor social support, close family members contracting the virus and gender may all be contributing factors in the development of these mental health challenges. Outdoor access and optimal housing conditions may help young people manage the negative mental health effects of the pandemic, and is especially important with young people with ADHD and epilepsy. Parents and carers can support access to healthy, stimulating activities and to accurate, age-appropriate health information. Alternative provisions, such as online counselling, are vital in providing urgent care to those who may be struggling the most during the pandemic, for example with self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Last updated on hub: 17 February 2021

Supporting children with disabilities at home during COVID-19: a resource pack for parents and caregivers

Leonard Cheshire Disability

The COVID-19 outbreak has had an impact on how people live their lives in every country around the world. In this context it is very important that the specific needs of children with disabilities are taken into account. This resource pack provides advice and guidance for parents and caregivers on how best to protect and support their children with disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Topics covered include: general guidance for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities; supporting children with disabilities to learn at home during the COVID-19 outbreak; safeguarding during COVID-19; communication and access to information for persons with disabilities during COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 17 February 2021

Digital mental health services: the impact of COVID-19 on young people’s mental health

Nominet

This report reveals how the landscape has changed amidst the pandemic, and what challenges and opportunities there are for charities and funders to support young people with mental health issues. The reports share insights from experts in the field about what to expect in 2021 and beyond. The landscape of digital mental health services has changed considerably since the outbreak of Covid-19. Lockdown has created new challenges for charities, whilst changes that were already starting to affect the digital mental health sector before the pandemic have been magnified. The lockdown meant many charities moved their services online for the first time or deepened their digital offer. Charities are taking their existing face-to-face services and transferring them to a digital format, rather than starting from scratch and creating new ‘digital-first’ services. This is understandable but raises questions about how effective these transplanted activities will be. We are seeing less service user testing, adjustments, and feasibility checks before an app is launched to check its effectiveness. The sector needs to continue advocating for approaches such as blended care and some of the more expensive kinds of support (such as one-to-one counselling), to ensure that quality and depth is not lost in a quest for reach. Long term, charities should consult with their existing and new service users as they decide if a heavy digital presence will be a temporary stopgap or a permanent pivot. We are seeing more funders recognise the value and importance of funding digital work, although funder engagement with digital continues to lag behind need. The report concludes by arguing that funders need to educate themselves on what good digital behaviour is. Digital services can be useful in many ways, but they will not suit everyone, so funders should make sure they are protecting offline, in-person options for those who need it.

Last updated on hub: 17 February 2021

12 lessons for children’s social work from practising under Covid

Community Care

The Covid-19 pandemic is presenting governments, social work leaders, managers and frontline practitioners with unique challenges. This article summarises finding of a research study exploring its impact on children, families and child protection social work. Since April 2020, 48 social workers, family support workers and managers from four anonymous research sites have been interviewed, many on a monthly basis. Researchers also spoke with 22 family members and analysed a small number of digital interactions between social workers and parents. The emerging findings contain 12 key lessons for practice now and for the future: social workers have creatively improvised to remain close to children and families; social workers and organisations should trust the digital more, particularly as part of a hybrid practice that combines in-person and digital interactions; digital interactions should be seen as differently, not always less, valuable; existing research and guidance should be developed to maximise the benefits of digital social work and the hybrid practices it generates; social workers have chosen to take risks to support children and families, even when they have been afraid; social workers don’t always maintain a physical distance from children and families; Covid-19 related risk-taking is not just an individual choice but systemic; there is a particular need to develop guidance and share best practice on the use of face masks; social workers and family support workers are providing increased levels of material help and support for families; social workers miss the support of the office; social workers should not be expected to operate alone when supporting and safeguarding children; social workers deserve greater public recognition for their contribution during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 16 February 2021

Lockdown lessons: pupil learning and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic

ImpactEd

Final report from a longitudinal study of the learning and wellbeing of over 60,000 pupils in England during the pandemic. The outbreak of Covid-19 has contributed to an unprecedented level of change in our education system, with significant concerns about the impact of the pandemic on young people's learning and wellbeing. There are five key findings, each with a recommendation for school practitioners: during the first period of remote teaching, pupil wellbeing was stable; during 2020, challenges with remote learning were felt much more strongly by pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds; throughout 2020, pupils in Year 10 and 11 experienced the greatest challenges with motivation for learning – this did not change when they returned to school after the first lockdown; girls experienced greater anxiety about returning to school and more anxiety while in school; schools identified a real risk of ‘lost’ children – those pupils who had struggled the most during lockdown were not always those previously identified as vulnerable.

Last updated on hub: 16 February 2021

Coronavirus and me: a second nationwide survey of the views and experiences of children and young people in Wales

Children's Commissioner for Wales

This report presents the views and experiences of 19,737 children and young people, age 3-18, in the current lockdown in Wales. Strong negative feelings were expressed by many children and young people. They expressed frustration and sometimes anger, about the impact of the pandemic on their lives. Loneliness rates are high and not being able to see friends is having the biggest impact on children’s lives, followed by not being able to see other family members and the impact of school and college closures. Over half enjoy learning at their own pace from home, but many are worried about falling behind with learning – levels of confidence and motivation with education are seen to be decreasing with age. A large majority of 15-18 year olds are concerned about falling behind, their qualifications and are reporting low motivation to do school work. Disabled children and young people are more likely to be worried about coronavirus, more likely to feel sad, more likely to feel unsafe. Children and young people of Black, Asian and other ethnic minority ethnicities are more likely to feel lonely and less likely to say they feel safe. Despite the worries and concerns that children and young people are reporting, many are also reporting positive experiences, as they did in May 2020, including enjoying spending time at home and receiving good support from schools and youth workers.

Last updated on hub: 16 February 2021

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on child welfare: d/Deaf and disabled children and young people

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This briefing uses insight from Childline counselling sessions and NSPCC helpline contacts to highlight the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on d/Deaf, disabled and autistic children and young people. Key themes of the report include: worries about the pandemic; coping with coronavirus restrictions; learning during lockdown; returning to school after lockdown; family pressures; children experiencing abuse; getting support during the pandemic. The briefing reveals that coronavirus restrictions have caused disruption to young people’s routines, which has been difficult for some children to cope with and adjust to. Support services have been harder for young people to access during the pandemic, with services either closed or severely reduced. Where services were transferred online, some young people found it difficult to access them, due to their disability. Home learning has also presented several challenges for some young people, including accessibility of online lessons and reduced additional support. Some young people have experienced delays in being assessed for support during the pandemic. After returning to school, some young people found they were no longer receiving the same level of support as they had been given before lockdown. The pandemic conditions have put additional stress on families where a child is disabled. Some parents have struggled to cope with the demands of caring for a disabled child with reduced support. Some children have also had to care for a disabled sibling during lockdown. Some young people report being unfairly, and in some cases aggressively, challenged for not wearing a face covering, even though they are exempt from doing so.

Last updated on hub: 16 February 2021

Evaluating the effect of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on long-term care residents’ mental health: a data-driven approach in New Brunswick

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Long-term care (LTC) residents, isolated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are at increased risk for negative mental health outcomes. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how the interRAI LTC facility (LTCF) assessment can inform clinical care and evaluate the effect of strategies to mitigate worsening mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We present a supporting analysis of the effects of lockdown in homes without COVID-19 outbreaks on depression, delirium, and behavior problems in a network of 7 LTC homes in New Brunswick, Canada, where mitigative strategies were deployed to minimize poor mental health outcomes (eg, virtual visits and increased student volunteers). This network meets regularly to review performance on risk-adjusted quality of care indicators from the interRAI LTCF and share learning through a community of practice model. This study included 4209 assessments from 765 LTC residents between January 2017 to June 2020 and modeled the change within and between residents for depression, delirium, and behavioral problems over time with longitudinal generalized estimating equations. Though the number of residents who had in-person visits with family decreased from 73.2% before to 17.9% during lockdown (chi square, P < .001), the number of residents experiencing delirium (4.5%-3.5%, P = .51) and behavioral problems (35.5%-30.2%, P = .19) did not change. The proportion of residents with indications of depression decreased from 19.9% before to 11.5% during lockdown (P < .002). The final multivariate models indicate that the effect of lockdown was not statistically significant on depression, delirium, or behavioral problems. This analyses demonstrate that poor mental health outcomes associated with lockdown can be mitigated with thoughtful intervention and ongoing evaluation with clinical information systems. Policy makers can use outputs to guide resource deployment, and researchers can examine the data to identify better management strategies for when pandemic strikes again.

Last updated on hub: 15 February 2021

Fractures in the Austrian model of long-term care: what are the lessons from the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Journal of Long-Term Care

Context: The COVID-19 pandemic highlights limitations of long-term care (LTC) systems in Europe, which continue to be divided between health and social care, and between formal and informal care. Objective: This article focuses on Austria’s LTC sector and its critical features that became visible during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Method: The analysis was carried out via desk-research, which covered literature, on-going qualitative analysis of media coverage, and statements and reports by interest organisations and governmental agencies between March and August 2020. Where necessary, useful and feasible, update information on ensuing developments until the end of 2020 was added during a final revision. Findings: In Austria, the number of cases as well as the number and share of deaths in care homes were lower than in other countries until August 2020. Yet, the crisis brought several idiosyncrasies to the fore, most prominently a lack of support for informal caregivers and lack of acknowledgements of the rights of live-in personal (migrant) carers. We find that the COVID-19 crisis has shed light on the fact that existing inequalities are being aggravated by gender and migration issues. Implications: (i) The crisis highlights the need for better communication, integrated care and health information flows between health and social care; (ii) Clear guidelines are required to balance older people’s right to self-determination versus (public) health concerns; (iii) Increasing reliance on migrant carers from Eastern Europe has led to a dualisation of the LTC labour market in the past decades, which needs to be countered by increased quality standards and endeavours to fundamentally change the employment situation of live-in carers; (iv) Informal carers are vulnerable groups that deserve special attention and call for expansion of community services in long-term care.

Last updated on hub: 15 February 2021

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