Low mood during lockdown is normal, minister tells children

Feeling anxiety, stress and low moods during the Covid crisis is “absolutely normal,” a minister sought to reassure hundreds of thousands of children today.

Children’s minister Vicky Ford also stressed the importance of youngsters returning in the autumn to schools which were being urged to focus on “well-being and pastoral support”.

Speaking to the all-party parliamentary group for children, she told how she lost her father when she was 10 and returning to school helped her to heal.

The group, chaired by Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who praised the Standard’s special investigation into children and vulnerable families, heard yesterday from experts on the impact of the pandemic on young people.

“We all know that children and young people will have had a variety of different experiences — anxiety, stress, low moods — and it’s absolutely normal to have those sort of responses in such an abnormal time,” Ms Ford told the virtual hearing.

Young people asked the minister questions including on grieving after losing loved ones.

Clearly emotional, Ms Ford said: “I lost my dad when I was 10. I don’t talk about it a lot because it still hurts.

“But I know from my healing getting back to school was really important.”

Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons Education Committee, said: “Children need to go back to school as soon as possible, not just to learn but for well-being, pastoral care.

“I worry that there is going to be serious problems with mental health.”

Shadow minister for children and early years Tulip Siddiq said: “Children’s experiences have been hidden from view during this crisis.”


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