ASKED in her interview with Scotland on Sunday whether there would be a positive legacy from the coronavirus crisis, the First Minister's answer was a swift and unequivocal no.

We're told that after a pause Nicola Sturgeon expanded her answer to say that the crisis has shown what really matters in life, listing "your health, your family, your friends, your community."

"If we can hold on to that," she said, "And apply some of that learning, as we go back to normal, then maybe that’s as close to a positive legacy as we can get."

I was mulling over that "No" all day Sunday. It seems in such stark contrast to a vast array of public chatter throughout the pandemic about learning opportunities and possible positive life changes arising from the crisis.

A swift reduction in carbon emissions; more active travel and a surge in cycling; more flexible, family friendly work lives with a blend of home working and commuting; a resurgence in the local high street as people stay at home more and shop local; a complete rethink of overseas travel with the environment at the forefront of our plans. And etc.

Perhaps it feels too crass to be speaking so soon about potential positive legacies when so many are still struggling so badly.

Having read through the children and young people’s commissioner's impact assessment into how the response to Covid-19 has affected young people, the only ray of light seems to be hoping for a positive legacy arising from this crisis.

The past week has seen a range of news stories about the devastating impact of the lockdown on children and young people's mental health and, having had increasing numbers of conversations with parents anxious about their children's own anxiety, it is a real relief to see the being discussed at a political level.

From children not receiving a meaningful level of communication from school to parents of only children concerned that their sons and daughters are missing out on vital socialisation and company, there are worries about additional resources needed for young people from engaged and supportive families.

We also know that the response to the coronavirus crisis - while aimed very much at keeping people safe and saving lives - has brought existing societal inequality into sharp relief so for children already vulnerable before the crisis, their situation has worsened further.

We know there have been issues with a lack of consistent Scotland-wide education provision with gaping differences not only from council area to council area but from school to school within local authority areas.

While local authorities have stepped in to provide vouchers and in some places teachers have been going door-to-door to check on pupils, much of the slack has been picked up by the third sector, creating even patchier provision.

As well as the children's rights impact assessment, The Carers Trust Scotland has released research into how young carers have been affected during the crisis. This too makes for grim reading, detailing a "steep decline in the mental health and wellbeing of thousands of young people across Scotland who provide unpaid care at home for family members or friends."

Some pull out statistics to illustrate the issues include 11% of both young and young adult carers reporting an increase of 30 hours or more in the amount of time they spend caring each week and six per cent saying they spend 90 hours a week caring for a relative or friend.

Dr Justin Williams, vice-chair of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, has also spoken of how the return to school will affect pupils, with new rules in place, teachers in masks, strict physical distancing between them and adults.

For those returning to school it will be a disconcerting experience of the very familiar and the very unfamiliar colliding. For those starting P1 and S1 for the first time there will be the double anxiety of a new school and Covid-19.

Scotland prides itself on its progressive attitude towards children and young people yet Bruce Adamson's impact assessment, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, makes for tough reading.

Children and young people have largely been left out of the decision making processes as the country moved swiftly to lockdown. There should, finds the report, have been ways of making sure young voices were heard during this process on matters that directly affect them.

Another alarming finding states it hasn't been possible to track how emergency laws have affected at-risk children because the Scottish Government doesn't collect the relevant data.

In response to children mental health concerns John Swinney recently said the government "hopes" to have a counsellor in every secondary school by the end of the year as one measure to address a looming child mental health crisis. This isn't a new pledge, it's a long-awaited promise.

When it appears children have been let down so badly during the crisis, it is difficult to think of positive legacies. One such might be implementing the steps outlined by the children's commissioner, particularly creating ways to make young people active participants in decision making about their lives in a way robust enough that this will not fall by the wayside in any future crisis situation.

There are many issues to be dealt with post-pandemic but making reparations for failing our young people has to be a priority.

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