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COVID-19 young people

New briefing on the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children and young people in Scotland

7 Mar 2022

This is the fourth in a series of COVID-19 micro briefings developed by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and Policy Scotland written in collaboration with expert partner agencies.

The evidence reviewed in the briefing makes clear the impacts of rising poverty and food insecurity, digital exclusion, and disruption to public services on the wellbeing of children and young people. Specifically, the briefing presents a focus on impacts to physical health, mental health, welfare and education.

The evidence concerning the mechanisms through which the pandemic has adversely impacted on the lives of children and young people in Scotland are grouped under three key themes:

  1. Rising poverty and food insecurity
  2. Exclusion from online education
  3. Support service disruption.

The briefing then examines how these three areas have impacted children and young people’s physical health, mental health and wellbeing, welfare, education, social interactions and out-of-school activities.

It concludes with the implications of the evidence and the need for future researche to track the long-term mental and physical health outcomes of children and young people, the impacts of disruption in services, and impact of lockdown and school closures on the physical health and socio-emotional development of children and young people.

Key findings from the briefing

  1. The pandemic and related lockdowns have adversely impacted on children and young people. The evidence reviewed makes clear that families within disadvantaged areas have been disproportionately impacted.
  2. Rising poverty and food insecurity; exclusion from online learning; and support service disruption have been the key mechanisms through which disadvantaged children and young people have been disproportionately impacted. Adverse impacts include the physical and mental health of children and young people alongside child welfare, education and social interactions.
  3. A minimum basic income, increased living wage and re-establishment of uplift to universal credit could help address the poverty impact of COVID-19 on families.
  4. The third sector has played an essential role in supporting the most vulnerable families during the pandemic. This has underscored the societal benefits of well-functioning public and third sector and community partnership working.

Access the microbriefing

If you require this publication in a different format, such as a plain text version, accessible PDF, audio, braille, BSL or large print, please email us.

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