'Life-long damage inflicted on children.'
According to a new study in the UK, seven in 10 parents said their children’s mental health had been impacted, and one third said physical health had been damaged by the lockdown.
New documents were released earlier this week, detailing evidence seen by the UK-based Scientific Advisory Group for Emergency’s (Sage), and according to The Telegraph, ministers were warned ahead of the decision to open schools that children will suffer lifelong damage because of lockdown.
One report by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group of Modelling (SPI-M) and New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) warned of the wider impact of lockdown to children’s physical and mental health, education and development.
In a report into the impact of school closures, it says: "A cohort of children have experienced a shock to their education which will persist and affect their education and work outcomes for the rest of their lives.
"Similarly, the current lockdown may lead to an increase in adverse childhood experiences."
The document warns this could include domestic violence, poor parental mental health, child neglect, and abuse.
It also found the most vulnerable are more likely to suffer because of the lockdown, specifically those with special educational needs and disabilities and those with learning needs, social difficulties, emotional and mental health.
It said: "Attachment is likely to be a significant issue, especially for children with SEMH.
"We know that a failure to positively support psychological development are likely to have longer negative implications for child development.
"The most vulnerable will also be negatively affected by existing family distress, housing, poverty, lack of outside space and opportunities for play and exercise, crucial for positive mental health and wider development."
The warnings include:
- Children with special educational needs and disability "very likely" to be adversely affected
- More vulnerable children likely to be affected the most
- Learning at home more likely to reinforce inequalities between children
- Emotional problems could be missed by psychologists
- The risk to children's welfare has "increased significantly"
- Almost 7 in 10 surveyed said school closure had impacted on their child’s
- Almost 3 in 10 said it impacted their child’s physical health