A team of researchers, from the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research based in Population Data Science at Swansea University, have launched a new study which will gather opinions of young people age 11 – 22 to understand the challenges they face during the pandemic.
The study is part of the Controlling COVID19 through enhanced population surveillance and intervention project (ConCOV), a UKRI funded COVID-19 Rapid Response Call, to help understand and address challenges of COVID-19. ConCOV will run for 12 months and will provide a platform for research to inform evidence-based strategies to control the virus, safeguard the general population and help bring the UK out of lockdown.
Giving young people a voice
Since the start of the pandemic young people have had to adjust to huge changes in education, social and family life.
To understand the current situation for young people, the study research team have developed a short online survey which asks young people about how COVID is affecting them, their communication, education, friendships and family life.
Information gathered from the surveys will be anonymised and combined with other multiple sources of data (including health, education and social care data), held in the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank that will be used to create an in-depth COVID-19 population study.
The findings from this study will be fed through to policy-makers and health care providers making sure that they are kept informed – giving them a better understanding of young people during the evolving pandemic. The findings of this study will contribute towards Con COV reports to Welsh Government COVID19 Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and British Government’s SAGE.
Professor Sinead Brophy, Director of NCPHWR and lead researcher for the study, said:
“During these uncertain times, it is important that we capture and understand the experiences of vulnerable and under-represented groups. Coronavirus is having a huge impact on young people’s lives. To help we need to gain an insight into how they are feeling and what life is like for them. This study aims to give young people a voice. Our aim is to ensure that our research findings are shared with governments in Wales and the UK – providing them with the evidence base needed to understand and inform decision making.”
Michaela James, researcher for the study, added:
“It’s really important that we give young people the opportunity to have their say during a time where they are being excluded from many conversations and decisions on matters that affect them. They will be some of the hardest hit individuals during this pandemic and therefore, we need to hear their experiences and feelings.”
Professor Kieran Walshe, Director of Health and Care Research Wales, said:
“Understanding young people’s experiences of the pandemic is essential in preparing the support and services they need. The ConCOV project is important research that will provide insight into the lives of young people in Wales and around the UK.”
This study is part of the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research (NCPHWR). NCPHWR is funded by the Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales.