Anna was one of our interns in our team “The Rights of Children and Young People”.  During her internship, she investigated the issue of how the pandemic affects the mental health of children and teens.

Author: Anna Taylor, Covid, and you? Mental health among young people during the pandemic

Covid, and you? Mental health among young people during the pandemic

In the last 8 months, I spent a total of 30 days in a 1-room quarantine; for the first time in my life: everything new and everything different. Two years ago, I decided to finish school at the United World College in Costa Rica. And then Covid happened. As soon as I arrived in Costa Rica, I was taken to a hotel where I went into a 2-week quarantine alone. After that, I finally got to know my campus. However, I was only able to meet a small percentage of the students, as classes were only held online and most students and teachers were not on campus at all. During these times, I noticed changes in the behaviour and attitude of both my friends and myself. Since then, I have been researching about the issue of how the pandemic affects the mental health of children and teens.

During my internship at the World Future Council, I decided to investigate this topic further and conducted a survey. Because I wanted to receive a global impression of the situation, I interviewed 19 young people aged 13-20 from North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

I came up with the following results:

For most young people, the pandemic is a phase of standstill rather than an opportunity for further development. Most everyday activities are either dropped or shifted to the digital. This creates a monotony that is exacerbated by the fact that people look for distraction in digital media and spend most of their time doing so.

Another big issue is the loss of motivation triggered by the lack of perspective. It is interesting to note that this phenomenon was rated similarly across all continents, although the severity of the pandemic varies greatly between countries.

The mental strain on young people is underestimated overall. The most important factors are: increasing fear of uncertainty for the future, weaker relationships with friends, fewer opportunities to meet new people. However, these seem to find little voice in daily life. Especially, regarding boys
this is an issue that is rarely addressed.

After 16 months of the pandemic, a lot has changed in my life as well: I communicate with many of my friends only virtually, avoid human contact, but above all, it has made me aware of the importance of mental well-being in relation to our health.

I would be happy if this short study on mental health could help to give more importance to the topic. On the one hand, to create a higher acceptance for the topic, on the other hand, to proactively deal with the topic; because mental health is just as important as physical health.

Pura Vida!

For the evaluation of my survey, please click on this link: Covid, and you (1).pdf