The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic—and the social distancing measures that many countries have implemented—have caused disruptions to daily routines. As of April 8, 2020, schools have been suspended nationwide in 188 countries, according to UNESCO. Over 90% of enrolled learners (1·5 billion young people) worldwide are now out of education. The UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay warned that “the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled”.
For children and adolescents with mental health needs, such closures mean a lack of access to the resources they usually have through schools. In a survey by the mental health charity YoungMinds, which included 2111 participants up to age 25 years with a mental illness history in the UK, 83% said the pandemic had made their conditions worse. 26% said they were unable to access mental health support; peer support groups and face-to-face services have been cancelled, and support by phone or online can be challenging for some young people.
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