Education and mental health main concerns among youth during Covid crisis - report

Education and mental health main concerns among youth during Covid crisis - report

Additional reporting by Sarah Slater

The Covid-19 crisis is adversely affecting young people in Ireland, a youth organisation has said.

Foróige conducted a digital focus group of young people from all over the country and found education and mental health to be among the primary concerns.

Students are finding it difficult to find routine and motivation as they adjust to learning from home where they don't have as much support from peers or teachers.

The lack of clarity surrounding exams was found to be causing increased stress and anxiety.

Access to technology was found to be another barrier in keeping up to date with education.

Not all young people have access to a laptop or smartphone while those in rural areas noted challenges with broadband making it difficult to stay connected.

Another challenge was the pressure on space and equipment in the home as parents working from home and siblings also need access.

Young people are also worried about their loved ones staying safe from the virus while the uncertainty abut the future post-coronavirus is causing anxiety.

Foróige found that young people felt overwhelmed by the amount of information circulating and are missing their social lives.

"It's not unexpected, but still quite shocking, to hear the levels of anxiety and worry that young people are feeling in the current situation," said Seán Campbell, CEO Foróige.

"It's clear that they are scared for their families, their futures and their mental health but there is also much to feel positive about.

They are using their time to learn new skills and support their families, whilst playing their part in the fight against Covid-19 by staying in.

The digital focus group was made up of young people from Foróige's Youth Sub Group. The group is representative by design from gender, geographical and diversity perspectives.

They also represent young people from a variety of backgrounds, with an age range of 16 - 18.

Meanwhile, a leading nutritionist has warned that what we eat is having a big impact on how we deal with social isolation and cocooning.

With this in mind, the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) based in Cork has decided to create a free online course who feel they need a little help in coping during this time.

The pro-active course titled, Survive & Thrive at Home, is a short course which is free to enrol in and is aimed at those who want to take the time to improve their education across nutrition and health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Suzanne Laurie, Director of the IHS said: "There is a growing understanding about the extent to which our nutrition and lifestyle choices can impact our overall health.

It is no surprise that people are actively looking for ways to help support their immune systems at this time.

"However, the uncertainty and stress many of us are feeling right now has as big an impact on our health as the foods we choose to eat.

“Therefore we decided to put this course together to give individuals a variety of practical and easy and fun ways they can positively influence their own health both now and well after we all leave our homes.”

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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