Titled ‘Wider collateral damage to children in the UK because of the social distancing measures designed to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in adults’, the article argues that school closures and social isolation are disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable children.
The authors include ARC West staff Esther Crawley, who is our Healthy Childhoods Theme Lead, Implementation Lead Gene Feder, Deputy Director Sabi Redwood and Director John Macleod, as well as Maria Loades of University of Bath and Stuart Logan, Director of ARC South West Peninsula. They argue:
“Schools provide a safe space for vulnerable children and play a key role in safeguarding by detecting signs of abuse or neglect. The rapid closure of schools has not been accompanied by strengthened processes to support those most in need. This has occurred at the same time that the Coronavirus Act allows social services to reduce or suspend services (see below) leaving vulnerable children without a safety net.
“Social isolation, the withdrawal of peer support, the lack of structure and support from school and the increased anxiety over COVID-19 infection and risk to parents are all likely to have a negative impact on mental health in children and young people. Social isolation and loneliness in children, job loss, furlough and increased parental distress may lead to subsequent mental health problems, resulting in a substantial increase in need for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).”