Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon concerned over children’s mental health during pandemic

Nicola Sturgeon has voiced concerns about the impact the pandemic is having on the mental health of young people – but insisted the well-being of children is a priority of the Scottish Government.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday, the First Minister said this year's Children's Mental Health Week, which runs until February 7, is “more significant than ever”.

She continued: “The last 11 months have been really difficult for all of us, but I don't think there is any doubt that children and young people have borne a really big burden from everything they’ve had to do to help us deal with this virus.

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“They've had their education disrupted. And, of course, they've been unable to see, play and interact with friends as normal.

“So I want to highlight today some resources that are in place to help children and young people at this time – because I know lots of children and young people will be struggling right now, including struggling with mental health.”

Ms Sturgeon went on to highlight four different charities and services to help children suffering with mental health issues while stuck at home during lockdown.

Nicola Sturgeon says she is concerned for the mental health of children during the pandemic.Nicola Sturgeon says she is concerned for the mental health of children during the pandemic.
Nicola Sturgeon says she is concerned for the mental health of children during the pandemic.

Clear Your Head -

Elsewhere in the briefing, Ms Sturgeon addressed the easing of lockdown measures, and said the Scottish Government will prioritise the reopening of schools.

“There may be points in weeks to come where adults are asking me to open pubs and restaurants and open the places we as adults enjoy going, and there may be a period where I’m saying we can’t do that yet,” she said.

“And the reason we can’t do it is because we need to keep all of the flexibility we have to get children back to school.”

Ms Sturgeon also said vaccine uptake in Scotland is “beyond anything I could ever have believed would be possible”.

The First Minister said 98% of older care home residents have received the first dose of the vaccine, while more than 90% of those over 80 have also been inoculated.

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She said: “I want to thank you, the public, those of you in the groups that have already been prioritised for vaccine, for coming forward in such large numbers so far.

“The uptake rates we’re seeing, and I hope this continues as we get into the younger population groups, are way beyond anything I could ever have believed would be possible – way beyond what we see in the flu vaccine programme.

“That’s testament to the willingness and the enthusiasm of people to come forward and be vaccinated for their own safety, but also to be part of that collective effort that we need to have to beat this virus.”

The number of coronavirus cases in Scotland has fallen below a key measure that indicates the pandemic is under control, with Nicola Sturgeon saying light at the end of the tunnel is “more visible now than at any point in recent weeks”.

Giving the latest figures at the daily briefing on Thursday, the First Minister said 53 deaths from coronavirus and 1,149 positive tests have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours.

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