‘I just feel anxious all the time’
Huge mental toll of COVID on young people revealed
Posted on 03.08.2021
Lockdowns and restrictions have made young people feel isolated and worried about their education .
Young Australians living through COVID lockdowns last year struggled deeply with their mental health and believe extra help is needed in schools to support student wellbeing, a new report says.
Mission Australia’s latest youth survey report examined the experiences of over 18,000 15 to 19 year olds between April and August 2020, when impacts of the pandemic were felt across the country.
For those who said COVID-19 was their biggest issue in 2020, the experience of isolation and the pandemic’s impact on their education and mental health were identified as top concerns.
Young people living in Victoria – which endured an extended lockdown last year – made up 40 per cent of those most concerned by COVID, while 17-year-olds were most likely to be worried about their education.
One 17-year-old Victorian reflected on her challenges dealing with mental health and depression during COVID.
“Our school is not doing enough in terms of accounting for the abnormal state of the world when it comes to setting assessments – I have never felt so simultaneously stressed and unmotivated,” she said.
“There has been an extreme lack of allowances for COVID and online learning so I am consistently stressed about school – on top of being stressed about the world.”
A 17-year-old from New South Wales expressed feelings of anxiety that have gripped many young people during the pandemic.
She said she felt her anxiety had been “the worst it has ever been”.
“Being a year 12 student as well as the effects of quarantine in losing time with my friends and being laid off in my job I’ve experienced significant levels of stress,” she said.
“I just feel anxious all the time.”
“Despite various levels of government investing in mental health, there are still large gaps in the mental health system that have been laid bare by COVID-19 – particularly for those who are vulnerable or marginalised,” he said.
“From the get-go, governments, services and organisations should prioritise engaging young people to design solutions that will best support them at this crucial time in their lives, backed with relevant and current evidence.”
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