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When speaking with children to inform the 2020/21 business plan, feeling stressed emerged as a common theme among the challenges that children were facing. Part of the consultation for the business plan included asking 1,924 children in December 2019 what they worry about. Feeling stressed and/or sad was the most common choice, with 33% choosing this as one of their top three worries.

To better understand children’s levels of stress, we conducted a survey on stress among 1,851 children and young people aged 8 – 17 in England, from 13th to 27th March 2020. The timing of the survey coincided with the closure of schools and the beginning of ‘lockdown’ in England due to the Covid-19 pandemic. From this initial survey, we began to see evidence of Covid-19 emerging as a new cause of stress amongst children, and we reported initial findings in a series of blogs. More broadly, the survey showed that 88% of children reported that they had ever felt stressed while 24% of children felt stressed most days or every day.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded, there have been concerns about the potential impacts on children’s levels of stress – initially during the lockdown. The CCO therefore designed a second survey to explore how children’s experience of stress had changed since lockdown began. The survey involved another panel of 2,000 children aged 8 – 17 and ran from 18th to 25th June.