This is the second (wave 2) in a series of follow up reports to the Mental Health and Young People Survey (MHCYP) 2017, exploring the mental health of children and young people in February/March 2021, during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and changes since 2017. Experiences of family life, education, and services during the COVID-19 pandemic are also examined.
The sample for the Mental Health Survey for Children and Young People, 2021 (MHCYP 2021), wave 2 follow up was based on 3,667 children and young people who took part in the MHCYP 2017 survey, with both surveys also drawing on information collected from parents. Cross-sectional analyses are presented, addressing three primary aims:
Aim 1: Comparing mental health between 2017 and 2021 – the likelihood of a mental disorder has been assessed against completion of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in both years in Topic 1 by various demographics.
Aim 2: Describing life during the COVID-19 pandemic - Topic 2 examines the circumstances and experiences of children and young people in February/March 2021 and the preceding months, covering:
- COVID-19 infection and symptoms.
- Feelings about social media use.
- Education, including missed days of schooling, access to resources, and support for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
- Changes in circumstances.
- How lockdown and restrictions have affected children and young people’s lives.
- Seeking help for mental health concerns.
Aim 3: Present more detailed data on the mental health, circumstances and experiences of children and young people by ethnic group during the coronavirus pandemic (where sample sizes allow).
The data is broken down by gender and age bands of 6 to 10 year olds and 11 to 16 year olds for all categories, and 17 to 22 years old for certain categories where a time series is available, as well as by whether a child is unlikely to have a mental health disorder, possibly has a mental health disorder and probably has a mental health disorder.
This study was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, commissioned by NHS Digital, and carried out by the Office for National Statistics, the National Centre for Social Research, University of Cambridge and University of Exeter.