COVID-19 resources

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Report 05: changes in children and young people's mental health symptoms and 'caseness' during lockdown and patterns associated with key demographic factors

University of Oxford

This report provides longitudinal data from 2,729 parents/carers who took part in both the baseline questionnaire and the first follow up questionnaire, as part of the Co-SPACE study. The study is tracking the mental health of school-aged children and young people aged 4-16 years throughout the COVID-19 crisis. An online survey is sent out and completed on a monthly basis by parents/carers and young people (if aged 11-16 years) throughout the pandemic. The report examines the changes in children and young people’s emotional, behavioural and restless/attentional difficulties, as reported by parents/carers, over a one-month period during lockdown before any easing of restrictions had taken place. The analysis shows that in primary school aged children, there were mean increases in emotional, behavioural and restlessness/inattention difficulties. The proportion of children likely to have significant difficulties in one of these 3 areas also increased, by up to 35%. In young people of secondary school age, there was a reduction in emotional difficulties, no change in behavioural difficulties and a slight increase in restlessness/inattention. For children and young people from low income households, emotional and attention difficulties (and behaviour difficulties for primary school aged children) were consistently elevated compared to those from higher income households, with around two and a half times as many children experiencing significant problems in low income households. There were similar levels of emotional, behavioural and restless/attention difficulties for children and young people from single and multiple adult households, but primary school aged children from single adult households were reported as having more emotional difficulties than those from multiple adult households throughout lockdown.

Last updated on hub: 24 September 2020

Report 06: changes in children and young people’s mental health symptoms from March to October 2020

University of Oxford

This report focuses on parent and carer reports of their children’s mental health symptoms at monthly intervals from March to October 2020. It provides an overview of monthly data from 7,192 parents/carers. These participants completed a survey at least once since the start of the UK lockdown (between 30/03/2020 and 31/10/2020), as part of the Co-SPACE study. The study is tracking the mental health of school-aged children and young people aged 4-16 years throughout the COVID-19 crisis. An online survey is sent out and completed on a monthly basis by parents/carers and young people (if aged 11-16 years) throughout the pandemic. Based on average scores of parent/carer reports within the Co- SPACE sample, the analysis shows that: behavioural and restless/attentional difficulties increased through the lockdown from March to June – this was especially the case in primary school aged children (4-10 years old); in secondary school aged children (11-17 year old), emotional difficulties slightly decreased at the beginning of the lockdown (March to April); behavioural, emotional, and restless/ attentional difficulties appear to have decreased after the lockdown eased, from July, throughout the summer holidays, and through the opening of schools in September (especially in primary school aged children); secondary school aged girls were reported to have higher levels of emotional difficulties than boys overall, with an increase at the end of the summer (July to August) before the reopening of schools; restless/attentional difficulties in secondary school aged children (11-17 year old) decreased from August to September; children with SEN/ND and those from lower income household (< £16,000 p.a.) had elevated and relatively stable levels of behavioural, emotional, and restless/ attentional difficulties throughout the whole period (March to October).

Last updated on hub: 01 December 2020

Report 07: changes in parents’ mental health symptoms and stressors from April to December 2020

University of Oxford

This report focuses on parent/carers’ self-reported mental health symptoms and stressors at monthly intervals from April to December 2020. To date, over 12,500 parents/carers and 1,300 adolescents have taken part in the Co-SPACE survey at baseline. We continue to collect data at baseline and on a monthly basis. This report provides an overview of monthly data from 6,246 parents/carers. These participants completed the survey at least once between 17/04/20202 and 31/12/2020. Key findings include: parental stress and depression were elevated during the first lockdown (when most children were home-schooled) and reduced when the lockdown restrictions eased in the summer.; however, parental stress, depression, and anxiety increased between November and December (when new national restrictions were introduced); parents/carers from certain households have been particularly vulnerable to elevated mental health symptoms, with higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety reported by parents from single adult households and low-income families, as well as those who have children with SEN/ND; parents who had any young children (10 years or younger) living in the home reported particularly high levels of stress symptoms during the first lockdown and around a third (36%) of them were stressed about their children's behaviour at that time (in contrast to 28% of those with older children only); parents who had older children only (11 years or older) reported more depression symptoms, especially during the summer. On average, 43% were stressed about their children's education and future (in contrast to 32% of those with young children).

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Report of the Department of Health and Social Care C19 Task Force: Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the report of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group, established to make recommendations to feed into the work of the Social Care Sector COVID -19 Support Taskforce. The Advisory Group has considered the context of and the priority action required for stability and continuity in the social care sector, in order to respond to the mental health and wellbeing needs of people and communities, to ensure that services can continue to navigate and deal with the effects of Covid-19 and plan for winter 2020/21. The report recommends that all service users known to mental health services must have the opportunity to review, with their care manager, their care plan, to ensure that these plans include provision for ongoing support; that all statutory services must be required to ensure they remain in regular contact with service users, that risk is managed with them and any commissioned providers throughout the pandemic and beyond; a clear and targeted focus on prevention that recognises and responds to the structural and intersectional determinants of mental illness and inequalities in mental health outcomes, particularly for BAME people and communities, is required of all services; and that the essential role of adult social care in the meeting the needs of people with mental health challenges and their carers and in promoting population mental health and wellbeing, must be explicitly recognised by the NHS and its leadership at national and local levels.

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

Report of the Social Care Taskforce's Older People and People Affected by Dementia Advisory Group

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the report of the Older People and People Affected by Dementia Advisory Group, established to make recommendations to feed into the work of the Social Care Sector COVID -19 Support Taskforce. The recommendations cover the following areas: restoring and sustaining contact with visitors in care homes; restoring care services and assessments; reinstating and sustaining community-based services and support; restoring and sustaining access to health care; ensuring effective safeguarding; and planning for and managing outbreaks. The report calls for all care settings and providers to have sufficient PPE; regular and ongoing testing of care staff and care recipients; the testing regime to be reliable and timely in its operation and resultant data to be shared with relevant NHS bodies and professionals, as well as providers; the flu vaccination programme to be unparalleled in its scope and ambition, and reach out to all social care staff and recipients in all settings, and informal carers too, supported by mass marketing; the financial resilience of care providers to be kept under constant review, with plans in place and regularly updated by CQC, central and local Government, to mitigate any significant market failure; total and available care capacity should be published weekly; and the ongoing challenges in data sharing and data governance between health and social care settings must be resolved by September 2020.

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

Research briefing one: child protection, social distancing and risks from COVID-19

University of Birmingham

This briefing shares some emerging findings about the challenges of achieving social distancing during child protection work, especially on home visits, and how children and families and social workers can be kept safe from COVID-19. The data shows that social workers, family support workers and their managers have worked creatively in addressing the complex practical and moral dilemmas they have faced in implementing social distancing guidance and in aspiring to best practice in helping children and families. The briefing focuses in particular on the implication of going into homes, the impossibility of social distancing, and virtual home visits; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use and dilemmas; and the professional values that guide social workers’ decisions about whether or not to conduct in person visits, including selflessness, public accountability and leadership. On the basis of the very early findings from this research, the briefing advises that social work staff should be told that they do not have to take any personal risks they do not feel comfortable with; staff doing visits inside family homes need to be provided with full PPE while other creative ways of seeing children, like in gardens, on walks, and on virtual visits, need to continue; social work leaders and managers at all levels need to address organisational anxieties by constantly being clear with frontline staff that how their practice and record keeping is evaluated will take full account of the constraints placed on their work by COVID-19 and social distancing.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Research briefing three: digital social work – the emergence of hybrid practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

University of Birmingham

This briefing examines emerging findings showing where and how digital social work practices have played a useful role in child protection work during the COVID-19 pandemic. It explores challenges encountered in the use of digital technologies and highlights circumstances in which newly emerging hybrid digital-physical practices help keep children safe or offer additional benefits for social workers and the families they support. Topics covered include: transitioning to the digital; video calls disrupting social workers’ expectations of themselves and their practice; learning to work digitally; video calls as face-to-face visits; video calls as a way to build relationships; hybrid digital-physical social work and possible hybrid practice futures; and digital inequalities. The study shows that digital social work and the hybrid practices it generates can provide a number of benefits. This might usefully be taken forward as part of an expanded set of techniques for support, communication and evaluation in social work, whereby their use is tailored to families on a case-specific basis. Yet these options need to be considered in the context of the ever deepening social and economic inequalities that characterise the UK at the moment, to ensure that they are designed in such a way that is equitable, fair and inclusive.

Last updated on hub: 12 October 2020

Research briefing two: disruption and renewal of social work and child protection during COVID-19 and beyond

University of Birmingham

This briefing shares some emerging findings about how COVID-19 has disrupted child protection and led children’s social care to improvise in creative ways that, if sustained post- pandemic, could renew practice and provide improved outcomes for children and families. The briefing focuses in particular on the challenges of social distancing; ways of being effective and achieving non-physical closeness to some families; hybrid practice – integrating face-to-face, digital and humane practice; the changing use of time – developing non-traditional ways of keeping in contact with families and children through various formats; doorstep and garden visits; mobile practice – e.g. going on walks with young people and sometimes parents and using parks and other open spaces near family homes to walk, play or just be together. While some such work has been enabled by conditions that are unlikely to persist – such as reduced rates of referral to assessment teams – data collected during this period yield insights that have the potential to renew policy and practice over the longer-term and provide improved outcomes for children and families.

Last updated on hub: 21 September 2020

Research watch: Coronavirus (COVID-19), mental health and social inclusion in the UK and Ireland

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

Purpose: This paper aims to examine recent papers on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, including implications for some of the groups of people already less included in society. Design/methodology/approach: A search was carried out for recent papers on mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings: Two papers describe surveys of adults in the UK and Irish Republic in the first days of lockdown. Low income and loss of income were associated with anxiety and depression. These surveys could not examine distress in Black and minority ethnicities, who have higher death rates from COVID-19. Two surveys of children and young people report distress and what can help. One paper summarises a host of ways in which the pandemic may affect mental well-being in different groups, and what might help. Another calls for research to understand how to protect mental well-being in various groups. Originality/value: These five papers give a sense of the early days of the pandemic, especially in the UK. They also highlight the needs of some specific groups of people, or the need to find out more about how these groups experience the pandemic. They suggest some ways of trying to ensure that everyone has the best chance to thrive in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Research with older people in a world with COVID-19: identification of current and future priorities, challenges and opportunities

Age and Ageing

Older people are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a profound impact on research as well as clinical service delivery. This commentary identifies key challenges and opportunities in continuing to conduct research with and for older people, both during and after the current pandemic. It shares opinions from responders to an international survey, a range of academic authors and opinions from specialist societies. Priorities in COVID-19 research include its specific presentation in older people, consequences for physical, cognitive and psychological health, treatments and vaccines, rehabilitation, supporting care homes more effectively, the impact of social distancing, lockdown policies and system reconfiguration to provide best health and social care for older people. COVID-19 research needs to be inclusive, particularly involving older people living with frailty, cognitive impairment or multimorbidity, and those living in care homes. Non-COVID-19 related research for older people remains of critical importance and must not be neglected in the rush to study the pandemic. Profound changes are required in the way that we design and deliver research for older people in a world where movement and face-to-face contact are restricted, but we also highlight new opportunities such as the ability to collaborate more widely and to design and deliver research efficiently at scale and speed.

Last updated on hub: 28 October 2020

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