COVID-19 and the related public health measures have led to major disruptions to families’ lives, with different pressures arising for children, young people, and their families over time. Understanding the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young people, through the collection of high-quality data and in a way that can directly inform policy, was set out as an immediate research priority in a Lancet position paper (Holmes et al., 2020). In line with those, the Co-SPACE UK study (http://cospaceoxford.org/) was launched at the start of the pandemic. Soon after the resources of this study were shared with the colleagues around the world and similar studies were implemented in over 12 countries.
Separately, most of these studies have found that lockdowns and school closures were associated with deteriorating mental health and increased stress in young people and parents (Creswell et al., 2021; Goto et al., 2022; Lawrence et al., 2023; Skripkauskaite et al., 2023). Certain groups (e.g., families with financial difficulties, and with children with special education needs, rare disorders) appear to have been particularly vulnerable to elevated stress and mental health symptoms throughout the pandemic (Fjermestad et al., 2022; Guzman Holst et al., 2022; Raw et al., 2021; Zainudeen et al., 2021), whilst those who could benefit from parental support with schoolwork fared better (McMahon et al., 2021). However, at this point, we still know little about how to best support families coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and how needs may vary across countries and pandemic-contexts.
The Co-SPACE consortium aims to improve our understanding how to best support families during and while coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, how that may vary across countries and pandemic-contexts. This workshop, specifically, will aim to: (i) formulate an overview outlining the global impact of COVID-19 pandemic and associated challenges on young people, families, and their mental health; (ii) publish a position paper that emanate from the conference that will include recommendations for future research and practice to address the needs of young people and families; (iii) establish a unified approach of data cleaning, processing, merging, and analysis across the multiple datasets; (iv) formulate an actionable plan for articles, and special issues.