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Survey reveals the scale of impact on young people’s emotional wellbeing of covid-19

Almost half (48%) of patients at the Brent Centre (BCYP), the leading mental health charity for young people, were impacted by loneliness due to covid-19, according to a recent survey conducted by the Centre. Coupled with this, over a third suffered increased educational (39%) and relationship (37%) difficulties. This data was sourced from assessments that BCYP received from young people along with wider feedback from therapists to understand the impact of the pandemic on young people.

Across most indicators of emotional wellbeing, female patients reported suffering more than their male counterparts, with stark differences regarding relationship difficulties with family and peers, where almost half (45%) were affected compared with 22% of male patients.  Female patients felt more affected by loneliness (52%) than male patients (41%), while loneliness affected patients aged 17-21 (59%) considerably more than those aged 5-11 (32%).

BCYP’s survey also touched on the practical difficulties due to working remotely. In over a quarter of cases (27%), patients were concerned about the quality of therapy due to having to conduct it over video. Regarding the impact on confidentiality, 34% of patients had concerns over issues of privacy, with one therapist surveyed noting that in many cases patients found it, “hard to talk about personal things, knowing that there was a possibility [family] could hear.”   

“Our survey highlights just how much covid-19 has taken its toll on young people,” says Dr Maxim de Sauma, BCYP Chief Executive Officer and Clinical Director. “This has been compounded by the harmful impacts of the pandemic on the therapy process. While we’ve succeeded in adapting our work to the ever-changing environment, we sincerely hope the Centre can return to its regular practices as soon as possible, to best support our growing numbers of patients through this challenging period.”

For over 50 years the BCYP has worked tirelessly to improve young people's lives. The Centre’s specialist talking therapies reach over 700 young people per year in the local community suffering with mental health difficulties, who otherwise may not receive support. Difficulties worked through include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicidality. BCYP helps young people through challenging experiences such as bereavement, bullying, relationship problems, issues at school and work, physical illness, and abuse. The Centre reaches young people through 13 schools, the Youth Offending Service (YOS), in-house at the main site in Brondesbury, Northwest London, and through other projects. Additionally, the Centre’s clinical research team works to deepen understanding around mental health, grounded in the foundations of our psychoanalytical psychotherapy approach.

To learn more about the survey’s findings, or if you have any questions about the Centre please contact Rupert Eyles, Communications and Development Executive, at rupert.eyles@brentcentre.org.uk.