COVID-19 and Young People’s Mental Health

After two consecutive years of lockdowns and restrictions, it is no surprise that this global health crisis remains to be unnatural to humankind. As social beings, we’re meant to be around each other, making connections – which is one of the many reasons why this pandemic is so much more than just a health crisis. Nonetheless, it had massive deteriorating consequences for mental health. As Ignite Life, prioritising the health of the youth has always been of utmost importance and therefore disruptions caused by COVID-19 to young people’s mental health should never be brushed under the rug.

School closures:

In terms of struggling with school, the possibilities were endless due to the pandemic. Approximately 1 out of 10 parents reported that they didn’t have the necessary devices to support their children’s online learning in the first place.¹

Children who did have the means to attend school online did not excel in terms of their mental health either. Studies have shown schools to be the centre of the development of their social skills and spending time with their peers or having a reliable friend group they see on the regular, have been widely acknowledged as essential for students’ psychological well-being as well as academic achievement.²

Substance use:

During the pandemic, we saw a dramatic increase in the percentage of young people reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Even before the pandemic, young people were more prone to developing substance use disorder and were at risk of suffering from mental health problems and in a way, the consequences of the pandemic expedited the process of such developments. Young people, compared to adults, were also more likely to report substance use as well as suicidal thoughts both before, and during the pandemic.³

The very fact that this issue not only remained prominent but increased in relevance proves that young people’s mental health still does not receive the attention it should have, and urgent action is necessary in order not to witness an exacerbation of the problem.

What can we do?

As an issue with such a magnitude, there are many things we can do as individuals. The first and perhaps most important is the acknowledgement that young people can have serious problems and they are not always a phase, as some families seem to believe. Not believing someone when they are facing these problems and invalidating their mental state only deteriorates the situation as it makes the person doubt themselves.
Ignite Life supports young people who are not having their needs met in an education setting, we provide vital care for young people who are worse effected by the growing educational gap. Ignite provides counselling to support young people with mental health, mentoring when young people can’t be in education, and food support to remove all the burdens of food poverty.
If you want to help us continue to support young people in our community, you can fundraise for us, donate to our services, volunteer for us and help us raise awareness!