Young people’s mental health has become a major concern for Liverpool Council

Schools across Liverpool have been awarded funding to improve students’ emotional health and well-being, following a citywide survey. 

Liverpool City Council launched an anonymous ‘OxWell’ survey in collaboration with local health and education partners and the University of Oxford to better understand how students had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey included 12,000 children and young people and identified mental health as the main issue post-lockdown – findings have led to three citywide priorities being set. 

Schools across Liverpool will now focus on addressing issues of loneliness, bullying and poor sleeping amongst students. 

Separate age-appropriate surveys were made available to children in years 5-7 and young people in years 8-13 with schools receiving additional support to ensure any students impacted during the process could access immediate health.

Cllr Tomas Logan, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said: ‘Student voices have demonstrated that demand for mental health support has been increasing, but not enough was known about specific needs – so the OxWell survey has helped us to bridge that gap.

‘The survey findings mean we now know the key issues that are affecting our children and young people. We can invest in activities that will improve overall wellbeing in school communities and target key areas to improve the emotional health of our youngest residents.’

In 2021 Children’s Commissioner of England, Dame Rachel de Souza, discovered after lockdown mental health conditions amongst children has risen by 50%, compared to three years earlier. 

Individual schools across Liverpool have now been awarded public grants of either £5k or a collaborative grant of £15k to develop projects across a partnership. 

A follow-up survey will take place in February 2023 to see if any changes have been made and additional schools and students are set to take part.

The council also has plans to offer students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) a bespoke offer to help with their mental wellbeing in Spring 2023. 

Professor Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool said: ‘Prior to the OxWell survey, the majority of local insight on children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing needs came from those already accessing services.

‘We knew this wasn’t a true reflection as not everyone is eligible to receive that support and of those who are only a small proportion actually access them.

‘As a result of the work we have done on the OxWell Survey, schools have been able to review their own data and work with their student focus groups on identifying projects and the best approach for addressing key issues.’

Photo by National Cancer Institute


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