About the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Adolescent’s Mental Health in Great Britain Study

The Mental Health Foundation and Swansea University is leading a repeated cross-sectional study of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health of adolescents (people aged 13-19) across Great Britain.

The study shares similarities and crossovers with the study: Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic, yet it is its own separate study.

Our Team

For the study – Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Adolescent’s Mental Health – the Foundation has partnered with Swansea University and the Adolescence Mental Health Data Platform (ADP) to work jointly with some of the most experienced experts in the field. Principal investigators for the study are the Foundation’s Head of Research, Catherine Seymour, and Professor Ann John from Swansea University and ADP.

The Foundation is working closely with four academic partners from across the UK to analyse, interpret and contextualise the data. The universities included are:

  • Swansea University
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Queen’s University Belfast.

Also involved is the organisation Leader’s Unlocked who are passionate about enabling young people and underrepresented groups to have a stronger voice in education, policing, health, wellbeing and elsewhere. You can find out more here: http://leaders-unlocked.org/

Our Project

Since late-August 2020, the project has completed three surveys at roughly 3-month intervals to more than 2,000 adolescents. A fourth wave has been approved and there is potential for the study to continue into a fifth wave, which would take the study up to a year long period. The surveys are conducted online by YouGov. Participants are different on each sampling occasion (there could also be repeat participants) but taken from the same pool and representative of people aged 13-19 and living in Great Britain.

The survey works similarly to the study: Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic, in that it is not diagnostic and takes a public mental health approach. For instance, each time it covers a range of topics and looks at adolescences coping strategies, mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic, loneliness and more specific issues related to this age group (e.g. learning from home).

Peer researchers (who are the same age as the studies participants) have contributed at each stage providing invaluable insight. Moreover, the Foundation’s partnership with Leader’s Unlocked have ensured diverse focus groups and task groups have contributed at each wave. These focus groups and task groups contribute qualitative information, personal insights and comments on the questions for the survey and data generated by the study. Members of the groups were between the ages of 14-25, thus it provided a young person lens and ensured content was relevant and accessible. The group members were selected to represent a broad range of adolescence experience, including that of living or having lived with mental health problems. Moreover, under-represented groups or topics that were not discussed in the surveys were also discussed in the groups, such as people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, care leavers and LGBTQ+.

Ethical approval has been obtained from Swansea University Research Ethics Committee.