The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging experience for many, including the young people we work alongside.
To gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and impact COVID-19 has had on young people, we reached out to Your Journey Youth Ambassador Tiana Mawer for her insights.
1. In your experience, how has COVID-19 impacted the lives of young people?
A lot of my friends and other young people I know have been struggling with their mental health. There are a lot of factors causing poor mental health, but financial stress is a big one. It has been very difficult for young people to access financial supports and benefits available to them during the pandemic due to the massive wait times.
Isolation is also having a negative impact, especially on those who are extroverted by nature. It has been particularly challenging for those living on their own as they can’t visit their family and friends, who are their main support system.
2. What challenges have young people faced and what techniques have they been using to cope during lockdown?
For many young people, social media and technology has become a really popular way to communicate with others and distract themselves from the current situation. However, it really depends on a young person’s perspective and current circumstance as to how beneficial technology is. As for some it can be a really useful way to stay in touch with loved ones and continue their studies online, while others have been consumed by it, contributing to poor mental health.
I know a lot of people miss attending classes in person and are missing the face to face contact, but for the time being technology has provided us with the opportunity to continue with our studies. It has also been a great way to stay entertained during lockdown.
3. How important has the role of youth services and supports been for young people?
Youth services and other supports are so important during this time. They genuinely really do help and more youth turn to these services than you would think. It’s so important for young people to know that these supports exist, so they can turn to them whenever they need to.
4. Has there been any positive or beneficial outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic for young people?
Everyone’s circumstances and experiences are different, so it really depends what is going on for them in their life. But I do know some young people who have taken this situation as an opportunity to try new things, explore new talents and uncover what they are truly passionate about. Which has been a great way to pass the time and gain something positive from what has otherwise been a really challenging experience.
5. What advice do you have for young people struggling during lockdown?
If you’re a young person who is struggling, I recommend tapping into support services you might have never considered before. A youth worker will be able to help you develop a support plan, which sets out goals for you to focus on during lockdown. There is help available if you are ready to reach out.
Using motivational tools and exploring new talents, is also a great way to shift your focus and gain something positive from this current situation.
Thank you to Tiana for her thoughts and continued role within Your Journey, representing and advocating for the young people we work alongside. This valuable position within the team contributes to service and policy improvements that empower young people and support both Your Journey and MOIRA’s vision.
If you are a young person impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic there are a variety of websites and helplines available to provide immediate help including:
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
A crisis support service offering short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
Beyond Blue 1800 512 348
Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
headspace 1800 650 893
Online and webchat support and counselling for 12-25 year olds, their family and friends.