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20th Jun 2022

Young people “scarred” due to Covid pandemic

Hugh Carr

young people covid

55% of women and 40% of men aged 22 were described as depressed.

A new study from the Economic Social and Research Institute has detailed the potential long-term impacts of the Covid pandemic on young people, describing the cohort as having “scarring” effects.

The report, entitled “Disrupted Transitions? Young Adults and the Covid-19 Pandemic“, details potential issues in young people that have arisen as Covid spread across the country.

“The scale of mental health difficulties among young adults, particularly young women, is of significant concern,” the report found.

“Given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, it is difficult to determine how long-lasting these effects will be.”

Over 55% of women and 41% of men aged 22 exceeded the threshold for clinically significant depression.

Four in five of the 22 year olds said they experienced a decrease in face to face interactions with their friends, although more than half of the group said they spent more time with their families.

Sources of depression cited in the report included disruption to employment, education, daily activities, and social support.

Over half of young people surveyed said that they found remote learning difficult.

“Research from the OECD has shown that further and higher education institutions were generally ill-prepared for the transition to remote learning,” the report said.

“As aspects of remote or, at least, hybrid learning become more embedded in further and higher education courses, these results highlight the importance of accelerated rollout of high-quality broadband, and support for further and higher education institutions in incorporating remote learning, feedback and assessment into existing courses.”

The report has also recommended that more preventative strategies be put in place to assist with young people suffering from mental health issues, and “highlighted the role for primary care and specialist services”.

“The suspension of treatment in the early months of the pandemic, and subsequent social distancing measures, have further lengthened already long waiting times for mental health care and treatment and highlight the funding of mental health services as a policy priority,” the report concluded.

Emer Smyth, one of the authors of the report, said that the results showed “the importance of providing adequate mental health supports for young adults as a matter of urgency”.