Covid-19 crisis sees ‘chances slip away’ for Ireland's young people

Covid-19 crisis sees ‘chances slip away’ for Ireland's young people

Long periods in isolation have brought “back the darkness” of mental illness while support services have been difficult to access. Pic: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Anxiety and fear weave coarsely through the testimonies of many young people who have shared their experiences of the Covid-19 crisis. 

The Irish Examiner joined forces with SpunOut.ie to ask young people, often maligned through the coronavirus, about the real impacts of the pandemic on their lives.

The virus hit at a crucial time in their development - as they were studying or beginning to build a career. 

But as schools shuttered and businesses imploded, they said that they watched their “opportunities slip away” while suffering “paralysing uncertainty.” 

Long periods in isolation have brought “back the darkness” of mental illness while support services have been difficult to access. 

Having grown up in one global recession, they now face another, searching for work in a hyper competitive jobs market with little to no professional experience while the reality of insecure and badly paid work allows them to see little possibility of ever owning their own home. 

Max, 21, from Sligo, a young transgender man, said that the crisis has meant that hormone treatments have been cancelled, "adding to the already ridiculously long waiting list for transgender patients to receive the therapy they need to feel comfortable in their own skin."

And some of his LGBTQI+ friends have been forced back to live with families who disapprove of their sexuality causing untold mental and emotional distress.

Niamh, 20, from Cork, the first person from her family to go to university, should have been boarding a plane for a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to study at Texas State University this September.

"Now that that chance has all but been ripped away from me," she said.  "As of right now I do not really know what the next year of my life will look like."

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