Young people's experiences of mental health before and during the COVID-19 outbreak

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Young people's experiences of mental health before and during the COVID-19 outbreak
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Central West London
Date of publication 
Friday, 20 November, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 27 April, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 16 June, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Holistic support
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Other local Healthwatch
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Mental health condition

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
1-15 years
16-17 years
18-24 years
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.