Our Response to COVID-19

As the UK went into our first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020 the Emerging Minds Network responded in a number of ways including creating resources, hosting events and webinars, and partnering on research, all to support the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, and families during a very challenging time.

Resource for those supporting children and young people with worries about COVID-19

In March 2020 we developed an evidence-based resource for parents, carers, and people that work with children and young people with advice, top tips, and further signposting to help support children and young people with worries about COVID-19. Using the buttons below you can navigate to:

  • a briefing for anyone supporting school-aged children and young people (authors: Dr Polly Waite, Roberta Button, Professor Helen Dodd, Professor Cathy Creswell – Universities of Oxford and Reading)


  • a similar briefing for those supporting pre-school children (authors: Dr Polly Waite, Roberta Button, Professor Helen Dodd, Professor Cathy Creswell, Dr Pete Lawrence – Universities of Oxford, Reading and Southampton)


  • foreign language and international versions of the main briefing


  • our webinar on the topic hosted by Professor Cathy Creswell, Dr Polly Waite and Professor Helen Dodd

COVID-19 Webinar Series

Between April and July 2020 we held a series of webinars alongside the Mental Elf to share evidence-based advice for those supporting children and young people during the pandemic. During the 8 events we hosted 20 professionals, academics, and individuals with lived experience to share their research and experience on a diverse range of topics including the importance of play, teen sleep, self-harm, and social isolation. The full series is available by clicking the buttons below.

Debating Mental Health Project

In December 2020, Emerging Minds partnered with Debating Mental Health and Didcot Girls School for a thoughtful and enlightening discussion between a group of young women aged 13 and 14 years: Can we build a mentally healthy world? This was the culmination of a project supported by the University of Oxford Public Engagement in Research Seed Fund. The young people debated how we can build a mentally healthier world, following 6 weeks of workshops together. You can find written and video reflections below.

 Other Activities

In March 2020 we launched the CoSpace Study alongside the University of Oxford and University College London to understand the impact of the pandemic on young people (aged 4-16) and their families.

Between October 2020 and February 2022 we supported the CoRay Project, which was funded by the Medical Research Council to co-create evidence-informed resources with and for young people to address mental health challenges in the pandemic context and beyond.

In March 2021 we co-hosted the conference “Youth Mental Health and Covid-19: what do we know and what should we do?” alongside the Centre for Society & Mental Health, King’s College Policy Institute, and the Mental Elf.