We know COVID-19 is impacting young people and their families, but there is also hope for the future
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we’re seeing the damaging impacts lockdowns and uncertainty are having and will continue to have on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
We’ve spent some time going through the current research and looking at our own programs to provide you with our insight, tips and thoughts on what is happening.
Some of the alarming data coming from NSW, is showing that emergency department visits resulting from mental health presentations in those under 18 is up 26%. To July 2021, there has been a 31% increase in the number of young people visiting emergency departments due to self-harm and suicide ideation, compared to the same time last year (a staggering 49% increase on 2019).
In VIC, by the end of May this year, the increase for such admissions is up 88%.
A survey of Headspace service users showed that 74% experienced worsened mental health since the onset of the pandemic, and 86% reported negative effects on their wellbeing, mood and sleeping habits.
What we’re seeing at Raise
Having worked directly with almost 2000 teens aged 13 -15 across Australia this year, we’re seeing these impacts firsthand.
In states and regions experiencing COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, we’re seeing significant reductions in engagement of our mentees. Our Program Counsellors have also reported that students are displaying significantly lower moods and increased fatigue.
Similar trends have been reported by the schools that host our programs. School staff in locked down regions are battling student disengagement and poor attendance in general. Some schools have observed an increase in cyber bullying due to the shift to online learning.
Problems with technology are particularly rife in rural and regional areas as well as access to technology in disadvantaged and large households. These factors are compounding the disadvantage these students already face.
The young people in Australia are exhibiting a range of emotions, problems and changed behaviour reflected in the word cloud below: