Mental health charity Mind warns that isolation faced by children during Covid-19 could have longterm impact

Doctors and mental health charities are warning that a generation of children could be affected into adult life as a result of the isolation felt during lockdown.

Joanna Randall from Bristol has struggled to cope during lockdown. She is a single mother and has had to balance holding down a full time job with homeschooling.

Her real concern is the impact the situation is having on nine-year-old Reuben's wellbeing. He has started to show signs of depression.

She says, "He had moments where he'd be really upset and almost inconsolable and it was really hard for me to know what to do as a parent.

"He was really very low, he became quite withdrawn, he's a really sociable kid and he was just sad."

Reuben says not being at school has left him sad, lonely and depressed. Credit: ITV West Country

He became really down and that was really upsetting for me to see because I felt really powerless.

Joanna Randall, Reuben's mother

Reuben says it is hard not being able to see his friends.

He adds: "At the start I thought it would be all right not going to school. It would be like a summer holiday. I was kind of lonely, sad and depressed."

I felt I'd be stuck here the rest of my life.

Reuben Randall

1,500 paediatricians have signed an open later saying keeping children away from schools "risks scarring the life chances of a generation."

They say it is safe for children to return to the classroom and believe the priority should be to re-open them as soon as possible.

Paediatrician Dr Emma Coombe says, "School isn't just about academic. School gives so much more in terms of children's social and mental health. That's a huge part of their development. I think it's a real feeling that we have no clear plan to get children back to school before September."

The Government has announced that it will give schools £1 billion in funding to help children catch up with their education.

Some will have missed six months of schooling by the time they return in September.

Credit: ITV West Country

Pool Academy in Redruth usually has 700 students on site each day. At the moment it is around 17-20 a day.

The Principal, Claire Meakin, welcomes the extra Government money.

She says, "That additional support is going to be really key because we can identify the students that just need that extra boost.

"I’ve been really proud of how the students have engaged with the distanced learning but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy for every student every day."

Classes are much smaller due to social distancing measures but these students at Pool Academy are glad to be back.i Credit: ITV West Country

Some secondary school students are glad to be back in the classroom. Melissa is in Year 10 at Pool Academy and says, "We’ve got exams next year, hopefully, and being able to come back in and talk to people and do learning with other people around us is a lot better."

Mental health charities warn that the wellbeing of children needs to be tackled as well as getting their education back on track.

Tom Hore, the Director of Bristol Mind says, "The problem is that a lot of longterm mental health problems do start in childhood and do stem from childhood traumas. I think for some children there's a risk this will carry on into adulthood and affect their adult lives."

  • Watch Victoria Davies' report on how lockdown could have longterm implications on the mental wellbeing of children like Reuben