83% of young people with mental health needs say the COVID-19 pandemic has made their condition worse, reveals poll

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31st March 2020 13:02 - Health

83% of young people with mental health needs say the COVID-19 pandemic has made their condition worse: A survey conducted by youth mental health charity, Young Minds, has revealed that more than eight in ten young people who have a history of mental health needs say that the current pandemic has made their condition worse. 

The research polled 2,111 young people in the days following the UK's nationwide school closures (Friday 20th March - Wednesday 25th March). It found that almost a third believe the pandemic has made their mental health 'much worse', while more than half (51%) said it has made their mental health 'a bit worse'. Around one in ten (9%) said that it made 'no difference' to their mental health. A little more than one in twenty (6%) said it had made their condition 'a bit better', while 1% said it had become 'much better'. 

Respondents were asked if they had accessed mental health support in the past three months, with 1,294 participants revealing that they had. Forty-six percent said they had accessed NHS support in the local community, such as CAMHS or adult mental health services, while 44% had received support from a school or university counsellor, and 39% had received support from other staff at school or university. Helplines or text services were accessed by 22% of respondents, while a fifth (20%) said they had turned to an online service such as Childline or The Mix.  Other resources included support through a local charity, drop-in centre or youth club (12%), support from a local peer support group (7%), and inpatient care (3%). One in twenty (6%) selected 'other'.

The research asked these young people about the impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on their ability to access the support they need, with the vast majority (74%) saying they were still able to access 'some form' of mental health support. More than a quarter however, said they were no longer able to access their support networks.

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