Covid-19 Effect: One in Two Youths Subject to Depression and Anxiety As per the survey done by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), over 17% suffering from depression or anxiety due to COVID-19 pandemic effects

By Priyadarshini Patwa

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The past few months have been challenging in multiple ways. Social distancing, isolation, quarantine period, fear of being exposed to the novel coronavirus, the lockdown has changed our lives in the most unexpected manner.

The time has been such that we witnessing an economic slowdown. Many have lost their jobs, financial instability has made people leave cities and shift their base. Long working hours to make sure we sustain our jobs, staying at homes 24/7 surrounded by people, the uncertainty of what future holds hasn't just brought global catastrophe but have disturbed our mental and physical health.

The crisis has seen more and more people undergoing stress and having a hard time matrimony mental peace. The talk and discussion on mental health have spiked in the last few months. And recent happening of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death has just resurfaced the mental health problem.

While lockdown has been difficult for everyone, the young generation is finding it mentally tedious. A latest global health survey by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) stated that 50 per cent of youngsters are subjected to anxiety and depression. It highlighted that 17 per cent of them are experiencing these symptoms due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

Youth and Covid-19

The survey titled, "Youth and Covid-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights, and mental well-being' said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives. Even before the onset of the crisis, the social and economic integration of young people was an ongoing challenge. Now, unless urgent action is taken, young people are likely to suffer severe and long-lasting impacts from the pandemic."

The survey has collected over 12,000 responses from 112 countries, with a large proportion coming from educated youth with internet access. The aim of the survey was to understand the impact of novel coronavirus on youth aged between 18-29. They were asked to respond on various factors from employment, education, social well-being to mental effect, and more.

The survey further stated, "Severe disruption to learning and working, compounded by the health crisis, has seen a deterioration in young people's mental well-being."

The Most Affected

The report showed that students whose education was effected or were shifted to online classes or colleges and schools were shut were twice more prone to depression and anxiety. "This underscores the interlinkages that exist between mental well-being, educational success, and labour market integration," the survey said.

The conditions are bad for those living in lower-income countries which less access to the internet and various basic facilities. The closing of education institutions and the shift of education facilities to the online medium due to pandemic has led to a damaging impact on young students who are worried and apprehensive about their future.

In the age group of the 20s and 30s, youth were experiencing these symptoms due to job loss, financial problems, less salary. Factors like extended work hours, work from home with various other responsibilities to deal with were adding to serious mental health problems. 42 per cent of those who have continued to work have seen their incomes reduced. 38 per cent of young people are concerned and uncertain of their future career prospects as no one knows what more this crisis has in store for people.

"The pandemic is inflicting multiple shocks on young people. It is not only destroying their jobs and employment prospects but also disrupting their education and training and having a serious impact on their mental well-being," said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

The Fear and Stress Among the Youth

While many have used the pandemic time for learning and enchanting new skill, the report highlights some important statistics. 65 per cent of young people reported having learned a lot less due to online school and digital classes.

What causes mental stress was also the fact that 50 per cent feared their education qualification getting hindered and delayed due to the ongoing crisis and 9 per cent feared "failing' in their exams. The study also showed a lower per cent of mental health cases in young women aged between 18-24.

Not the End

Despite the extreme circumstances young people are coming out, standing together, and using their energy to create awareness and fight against the virus. According to the survey, one in four has done some volunteer work during the pandemic.

The survey also stated that even though the pandemic might come to an end, it will leave the last impact. The world night faces an unexpected health crisis which will heavily impact people's health, quality of life, and well-being. While Russia has finally started the making of the first batch of vaccines, it will be a long and tough road for the global cure and getting back to old normal!

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Priyadarshini Patwa

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur India

Priyadarshini Patwa is the Former Features Editors of Entrepreneur India and hosted an Instagram show every Friday named ‘Lighten Up’, about people from different walks of life and talk about their work and beyond. She handled the lifestyle, features, technology, entertainment segments and was also responsible for the Digital Covers. Previously she has worked with MensXP, a Times of India entity and Deccan Chronicle. 

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