Editorial: “School of hard knocks” – what can mental health researchers learn from the COVID‐19 crisis?
Edmund J.S. Sonuga-Barke
Since the COVID‐19 pandemic took hold in the first quarter of 2020, children and their families across the world have experienced extraordinary changes to the way they live their lives – creating enormous practical and psychological challenges for them at many levels. While some of these effects are directly linked to COVID‐related morbidity and mortality, many are indirect – due rather to governmental public health responses designed to slow the spread of infection and minimise the numbers of deaths. These have often involved aggressive programmes of social distancing and quarantine, including extended periods of national social and economic lockdown, unprecedented in the modern age. Debates about the appropriateness of these measures have often referenced their potentially negative impact on people’s mental health and well‐being – impacts which both opponents and advocates appear to accept as being inevitable.
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Edmund Sonuga-Barke is currently Professor of Developmental Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience working in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, King’s College London. He also holds Visiting Chairs at Ghent University, Aarhus University and the University of Sussex. He is Editor in Chief of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. His work integrates Developmental Psychopathology and Neuroscience perspectives to employing basic developmental science approaches to study the pathogenesis of neuro-developmental and mental health conditions; their underlying genetic and environmental risks, mediating brain mechanisms and developmental outcomes. He has a particular interest in ADHD and related disorders. In 2016, Prof Sonuga-Barke was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.