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Risk factors for experiencing heightened levels of anxiety

The (COVID-19) pandemic is very new, meaning that we are still learning about psychological responses related to the virus itself. Anxiety is a natural response to a new situation.

Further information

Children should always be able to express their feelings without judgement, even feelings that are uncomfortable or difficult for adults to hear. This will allow them to adapt to a ‘new normal’.

Psychological theory suggests that children or young people might be at greater risk of experiencing high levels of anxiety if they have:

  • Pre-existing anxiety or other mental health conditions
  • Experienced instability or stress or previously traumatic life events
  • Experienced the death of a key attachment figure (e.g. a parent, carer, or other close relative), particularly if the figure died of (or are perceived to have died of) a similar condition.
  • Close family members who are at high risk (either through age or a pre-existing condition) or who are at high risk themselves.
  • ‘Over-exposed’ themselves to concerning and potentially inaccurate information about coronavirus.
  • Care givers who themselves are struggling with the emotional impact of the current situation
  • Caring responsibilities as a young carer
  • Looked after status    
  • Learning difficulties or difficulties with language and communication
  • A limited social network
  • English as a second language and/or are newly arrived in the UK.
  • Limited social understanding, for example, those on the Autism Spectrum

Please consider the environment.