The impact of lockdown on young people living around us

The impact of lockdown on young people living around us

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14/04/2020
Poppy Tomlinson

Told to stay home for the ‘foreseeable future’ – our daily instincts
have been overpowered by a stomach grabbing anxiety.
Language used by the young people we work with described their growing anxiety through
COVID-19, matching the deep concern felt by the majority of the globe
right now with our “uncertain future”.

Speaking with young people in our network I now understand the shared
yet differing anxieties entwined in our (temporary) new lives. Two
young people shared that they did not want to discuss any negative
impact (i.e. anxiety) as they had already spent most of
the day working themselves out of an anxious place – a testament to
the daily conflict. One young person disclosed that: “This is the
most amount of anxiety I have ever had to deal with,” a collective
feeling among our young network. Many of our youth live independently and
some with conditions which place them in the ‘vulnerable’
category – these young people speak specifically about the worry of
going to the pharmacy for their necessary medication.

Being young can be wonderfully exciting but is also pressured by the
expectations of ‘becoming something,’ achieved through ones personal choices and
determination. Currently, most young people are seeing their hard work
fall out of context in their lives with little reassurance that this
time will not set them back. This has had a direct impact on how young
people vision moving forward, “I am worried I am making bad decisions
as I struggle to get my head in a good place”. Some speak of feeling
supported through institutions such as university or workplaces;
well-being support, online counselling and extensions for assignments.
Other young people complain of having little guidance and a lack of access to the resources needed to complete their assignments.

The personal conflict with anxiety is amplified by their worry for friends and family, some describing concern about the mental health of parents as external support has decreased. They also fear that they will not get to see some family members again.
Some of our young network spoke of having to share their finances with
family who have lost work. Those with young children described the
difficulty of obtaining essentials as many shops do not allow more
than one child in with an adult. Taking children out for any reason
sparking extra anxiety: “I don’t like leaving the house especially with
the children as they touch everything”.

Our young people all spoke of ways they are actively trying to remove
the “crippling” anxiety form their everyday lives. Some through
exercise and online socialising, others are trying to restructure
their goals to align with the current situation. Lack of knowing when
we can start rebuilding our lives and how we will do so is the
specific cause of anxiety for all the young people spoken to.

Currently, they are juggling their personal growth with
supporting family and having serious mental struggles – the very same young people
expected to ‘become something’. Those who openly discussed their
anxieties through COVID-19 were in a good enough place to do so – my
deepest concern is for young people who are not aligned with strong family relationships or a supportive organisation. Many people will need the support to rebuild their lives after lockdown and our young must be a priority.

Tags: Covid-19, Anxiety, Young people, Lockdown

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