Debate: Recognising and responding to the mental health needs of young people in the era of COVID‐19

Andrea Danese & Patrick Smith - Child and Adolescent Mental Health


The COVID‐19 pandemic is a ‘perfect storm’ for the mental health of young people, because of exposure to known risk factors for psychopathology and lack of support from the infrastructures that are normally in place to ensure safety and provide support. However, it is yet unclear if this ‘perfect storm’ will flood the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services. The early, normative emotional responses observed may not lead to enduring psychopathology in most young people. Nevertheless, a minority of young people may show complex presentations, particularly in relation to bereavement. As epidemiology and clinical practice will reveal the actual needs of young people, the hope is that we will find the focus and determination to build new solutions to promote young people’s mental health.