Young people's experiences of mental health before and during the COVID-19 outbreakDownload (PDF 674KB)
Summary of report content
Young Healthwatch Westminster which is part of Healthwatch Central West London undertook research into the mental health concerns of young people, as a result of research with local young people.. The survey was created before the COVID-19 pandemic was recognised as a global health crisis, and questions relating to the pandemic were added in April 2020. This report highlights the findings collected between 27th April – 16th June 2020 and is based on 144 responses.
In general, respondents reported feeling ‘neutral’ when asked how comfortable they are talking about their mental health. ‘Uncomfortable’ and ‘comfortable’ responses have remained at a similar level (around 30%) since the survey opened, showing no sign of variation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over four in five respondents said that they felt they could find mental health support if they needed it, and 78% said they believe there has been enough information on mental health support during the crisis.
Whilst over a third of respondents to the survey had used CAMHS, three in five had not heard of it. Perceptions of CAMHS among those who had heard of it were mixed, from excellent to extremely poor. Of the young people who had heard of one or more of the services asked about, only 1% had heard about the service from their GP.
Almost 40% of the young respondents to the survey said that they had been impacted a “moderate” amount by COVID-19. Many respondents mentioned an initial sense of relief from existing stresses, such as school and exams. However, these were replaced with different anxieties, including illness or bereavement, pressurised family relationships, concerns about jobs, education and finances and social isolation.
The report also looks at barriers to asking for help, the importance of supportive networks and differences between the experiences of young people from a minority ethnic background and those from a white background.