The COVID pandemic has highlighted current threats to young people’s emotional health and well-being from experiences such as lockdown, school closure, separation from friends and extended family, parental anxiety and stress around the economy, fears about the health of family members, and many other issues.
The pandemic has also served to increase the extent of inequalities in our society with widespread calls for action at local, regional and central government levels to prioritise children’s well-being. Some have given dire warnings of a ‘lost generation’.
In this talk, I emphasise the need to view this situation as an opportunity to affirm our deep human need for connectedness and to draw on the strengths within ourselves as individuals and within the people and systems around us to develop positive approaches to promote the emotional health and well-being of all children and young people.
I will review evidence from current research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of children and young people, consider the views of young people themselves, and propose evidence-based interventions to ensure a better future for this generation.
These include providing a platform for the voice of the child, the recognition of children’s talents and abilities through the creative arts, physical activity and access to open spaces and nature. Facilitation of peer support, strengthening young people’s resilience, and creating opportunities for the enhancement.