Professor Ellen Townsend
Potential impact of the pandemic/lockdown on children and adolescents
Ellen is a member the steering group for the International COVID-19 Suicide Prevention Research Collaboration. She has published commentaries in the Lancet Psychiatry on research ethics and suicide prevention during the pandemic. Ellen wrote a UoN blog entitled ‘Child and adolescent mental health in a post-lockdown world: a ticking time bomb?’ She led an Open Letter to Gavin Williamson (published in the Sunday Times) signed by many world-leading experts calling for the government to release young people from lockdown. She has created and chairs reachwell.org - a team of experts providing evidence about the impact of the lockdown and social distancing on children and adolescents.
Ongoing research related to the pandemic/lockdown
Ellen and UoN colleagues have received a donation from Santander to study individuals whose mental health has been, or is likely to be, disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Ellen will co-lead work on children and adolescents alongside Chris Hollis, Jen Martin (IMH) and Chris Greenhalgh (Computer Science). Ellen is also co-leading an MRC award with Chris Hollis exploring how digital technology can be harnessed to improve mental health in children and adolescents. Some of the work has been refocussed to investigate the impact of the pandemic on mental health. Ellen collaborates as an academic lead on the Multicentre Study of Self-Harm in England, collecting vital data on self-harm during the pandemic
Professor Ellen Townsend has established and is chair of a group of leading academics concerned at the neglect of young people in government policy making during the current global crisis: Researchers in Education and Adolescent Child Health and Wellbeing: https:// reachwell.org/
Members include Profs Ian Goodyer (co-Chair), Uta Frith, Essi Viding and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. The multidisciplinary group provide scientific evidence that might help to redress this imbalance through knowledge exchange with policy makers.
Briefings include the impact of lockdown on development, play and wellbeing, loneliness, mental health, self-harm, education, and mental health service provision. The most recent blogs encourage policy makers to choose a different path and put the rights and needs of children first as we enter the next phase of the crisis https://reachwell.org/2020/09/07/sunil- bhopal-and-delan-devakumar-damage-of-the-lockdown-for-children-and-young-people-lets- choose-a-different-path/ and a present a call to action to prevent further damage to young people https://reachwell.org/2020/09/10/dr-matthew-owens-undoing-the-untold-harms-of- covid-19-on-young-people-a-call-to-action/
Reachwell was covered in the September edition of The Psychologist Magazine, which you can read here.