TEENAGERS struggled more with mental health during lockdown than their parents, according to research by Oxford University.

The Oxford ARC (Achieving Resilience during Covid-19) study, launched in May, found teenagers consistently reported higher levels of anxiety and depression than parents.

Around 35 per cent of teenagers said they felt lonely often or most of the time, compared to 17 per cent of parents. At the same time, approximately 40 per cent of parents said they never felt lonely, compared to only 20 per cent of teenagers.

Since May, teenagers consistently reported that they felt unable to control the important things in life, with rates at 60 per cent last month.

Now, as teenagers are returning to school, the Oxford ARC study, is launching a new phase of research to understand how certain aspects of the school experience are helping or harming young people’s mental health during the transition back to school and into the ‘new normal’.

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The Oxford ARC study will now investigate what helps and what hinders psychological resilience in young people during the transition back to school.

Three quarters of mental health conditions present themselves during this key phase in child development.

Despite this, only a minority of research funding goes towards understanding mental health during adolescence. There have been more than 1,000 teenagers and their parents taking part in the study so far, but researchers need many more to get the best picture of the situation.

The results will provide important information which can help better respond to the mental health needs of teenagers now and in the future.

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Professor Elaine Fox said: "It is vitally important that we include the voice of young people in understanding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health and wellbeing. Little is known about what factors promote resilience in times of uncertainty and the Oxford ARC study is designed to answer this question.

"We urgently need lots of young people to take part in the study now that schools are beginning to re-open so that we can truly begin to understand what most concerns young people."

Elina Thomas Jones from the Triumph Network’s Youth Advisory Panel, which helps bring together researchers and young people working on mental health, said: "Personally, my mental health has been up and down throughout lockdown. To begin with, it was being affected by the fact it felt as if everything had been ripped away so suddenly.

"However, at this point, it is the uncertainty of what comes next that affects my mental health the most. With the anxiety regarding the transition of going to university, along with the pressure leading up to A-level results day, the education system has had a major impact on my mental ill health; and I think that would be similar for most young people."

Visit oxfordarcstudy.com.