Impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and young people: An umbrella review

Leonardo Bevilacqua, Lana Fox-Smith, Amy Lewins, Poonam Jetha, Athena Sideri, Gil Barton, Richard Meiser-Stedman, Peter Beazley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Background Over the past 3 years, a multitude of studies have highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of children and young people (CYP). In this umbrella review, we synthesise global evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of CYP from existing systematic reviews with and/or without meta-analysis.

Methods: Adopting the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, we evaluated 349 citations and identified 24 eligible reviews with medium to high methodological quality to be reviewed narratively.

Results: Most of the reviews reported a high prevalence of anxiety disorders, depression, suicidal behaviour, eating disorders and other mental health problems. Most studies that used data at multiple time points indicate a significant increase in mental health problems in CYP, particularly in females and older adolescents.

Conclusions: Multipronged psychosocial care services, policies and programmes are needed to alleviate the burden of mental health problems in CYP as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated global health measures.

PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021276312.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-709
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Issue number11
Early online date24 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • COVID-19

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