Our heart goes out to the families struggling during lockdown. This has been a difficult period and we are especially saddened to read a story from the BBC today that there are increasing numbers of children self-harming.
According to the article, the number of children in mental health crisis being brought to A&E has risen significantly - from about twice a week to more than once or twice a day since the summer. Doctors have seen self-harming behaviour in children as young as 10 and 8.
While lockdown has been challenging for all of us, these impacts have been especially difficult for children who are still in their formative years, making and building their first friendships, and trying to learn.
In surveys and interviews carried out for the Born in Bradford study, which presented findings of children’s experiences during lockdown, anxiety, isolation and disengagement from school were common. The disruption to the school routine and a drastic reduction in social contact had led to boredom and sluggishness.
The study concluded with a list of recommendations to support children, including “teachers to maintain contact with students and provide guidance on their work” and “encouraging parents to take a more active role in facilitating their children’s social interaction”.
In separate research published last year from the University of Bath, which drew on 60 peer-reviewed journal articles on the topics of social isolation and mental health in children, it was found that “young people who are lonely might be as much as three times more likely to develop depression in the future, and that the impact of loneliness on mental health could last for at least 9 years”. The longer the amount of time children spent feeling lonely the more negative the impact.
While many parts of the world, including here in the UK, are still struggling with lockdowns, it is important we do everything we can to mitigate the negative impacts on children. By keeping children connected and interacting with their friends, we can hopefully reduce feelings of loneliness.
At GoBubble, we are proud to provide a supportive lifeline to teachers and schools by giving them a safer, healthier and kinder digital playground for their students to maintain and build authentic friendships, and take part in wider teaching and learning opportunities. Teachers also get peace of mind that all content is checked before it appears, reducing the risk of anything inappropriate.
If your school is not on GoBubble yet, it is easy and free to join here.