Today, the younger generation is suffering both from the consequences of the lockdown and from the problems that have followed as a result. Forced self-isolation, months of interruptions in education, cancelled exams, a confusion over grades and the scramble for university places have all affected the mental health of young people during and following lockdown. These issues have been compounded by economic stagnation and a lack of jobs. Although the government is now committed to keeping schools open, young people continue to deal with Covid-related problems such as the death of a family member, and quarantine obligations for close contact with Covid-positive pupils.
In general, research on adolescents has shown that self-harm, anxiety, and suicide were increasing among children and adolescents even before the lockdown. The Covid-related restrictions worsened the mental health of this fragile group due to social isolation, domestic violence, cramped housing, strained family relationships, and eating disorders. Worse still, Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, the chair of the British Youth Council, gives examples of how young people are blamed for spreading the virus and killing elderly people through pub and restaurant visits, or contact with friends.
Professionals and experts in the UK believe that children must be a priority in this problem and have to be involved in all decisions that affect them. They also suggest that teachers and under-resourced charities won’t be enough to support them, but that schools and universities should provide more psychosocial support for young people.
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