A new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge finds that the government-imposed lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic cause significant harm to children’s mental health. The study, published this week in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, was the first of its kind to analyze data on younger children’s mental health before and during the first lockdown in the United Kingdom last spring.
Other studies linking declining mental health with lockdown policies have emerged for adolescents and young adults in recent months, but children were not typically represented. For example, the CDC reported in August that 1 in 4 individuals ages 18-24 contemplated suicide during the spring lockdowns, and a recent Harvard study found startling rates of depression in young adults. Adolescent mental health has been hit particularly hard by the lockdowns and related social distancing policies. For example, a 16-year-old boy from Brunswick, Maine took his life last week after leaving a note saying that he felt locked in his house during the pandemic and separated from friends due to remote learning.
The new University of Cambridge paper is the first longitudinal study to trace the mental health effects of lockdowns and social isolation on younger children, finding that their mental health is similarly deteriorating during the pandemic response.naturalblaze Cambridge Study: Children’s Mental Health Deteriorated “Substantially” During Lockdown