Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, many governments have implemented national or regional lockdowns to slow the spread of infection. The widely anticipated negative impact these interventions would have on families, including on their mental health, were not included in decision models. The purpose of this editorial is, therefore, to stimulate debate by considering some of the barriers that have stopped governments setting the benefits of lockdown against, in particular, mental health costs during this process and so to make possible a more balanced approach going forward. First, evidence that lockdown causes mental health problems needs to be stronger. Natural experimental studies will play an essential role in providing such evidence. Second, innovative health economic approaches that allow the costs and benefits of lockdown to be compared directly are required. Third, we need to develop public health information strategies that allow more nuanced and complex messages that balance lockdown’s costs and benefits to be communicated. These steps should be accompanied by a major public consultation/engagement campaign aimed at strengthening the publics’ understanding of science and exploring beliefs about how to strike the appropriate balance between costs and benefits in public health intervention decisions.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2021|