THE worrying ‘legacy’ of coronavirus could leave children carrying mental health trauma for the next decade.

A presentation on the impact of lockdown on Warrington kids was delivered ahead of the virtual meeting of the council’s cabinet on Monday.

Amanda Amesbury, the council’s director of children’s social care, spoke about the alarming mental health issues facing youngsters.

She said: “This, for me, is one of the really long-term issues that we need to keep an eye on because of the significant impact, like long-term effects, that I don’t think we’ve really got a measure of yet of what that will look like in five years’ time.

“There’s some research done that says that mental health, the trauma, doesn’t actually often come out in terms of your own mental health and wellbeing for up to nine years later.

“So we might be carrying the legacy of Covid for some time as a borough, with our children’s mental health, emotional wellbeing.

“We have seen increases already in anxiety and depression and we’ve seen increases in eating disorders and specialist services are reporting that they have seen increases as well.”

Ms Amesbury stated the council has improved its online resources and highlighted the ‘trauma-informed approach’ in place across the school system.

She also told members that regular visits to the most vulnerable children continue to take place.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden thanked staff at the council and partner organisations for their efforts – and said points in the presentation were consistent with the national reporting over the impact on young people.

He added: “I think it’s quite sobering really just to think about the long-term effects that this particular lockdown may well have on children of all ages, in terms of their development but obviously in terms of their long-term health and attainment.

“There’s obviously a lot of work to do and I’m sure our colleagues in schools and other partner organisations will be part of that journey with us.”

The council put in place a learning in lockdown resource pack for schools to support them to deliver a well-balanced home learning offer to pupils and redistributed school laptops, iPads and dongles to support children’s access to online learning during the lockdown.