Mental Health & COVID-19: Reports Show Young People's Despair Deepens As Pandemic Drags

Now as people faced a restricted social life and added uncertainty in their lives, many people are now suffering from a distressing sense that they are losing precious time in their prime years.

Sanskriti Tiwari
New Update
Future self
Young People's Despair Deepens: A recent report by UNICEF indicates younger women reported a higher percentage of anxiety issues.

From a smooth life to an emergency life and death situation, the pandemic took over the world almost a year ago in India. The world was already dealing with a lot of problems from economic to political, we were amidst a multitude of stumbling blocks to clear off. The pandemic came as an addition to the already rusting irons of difficulties.

Now as people face a restricted social life and added uncertainty in their lives, many people are suffering from a distressing sense that they are losing precious time in their prime years. A study conducted last year by the International Labor Organization(ILO) in 112 countries found that two-thirds of 18-to 29-year-olds could be subject to anxiety and depression.

"Being alone most of the time is associated with increased weight, poorer diet, decreased exercise, alcohol abuse, greater risk of sickness, and even a shorter life span. Cognitive functions decline, possibly as a result of a few verbal interactions. Added to this is the emotional pain of being lonely. Social isolation is not just loneliness, it is also the habits that we now have to adopt. Screen time for the average individual is already on the rise due to work from home conditions and will only increase as the lockdown continues. This has already been previously linked to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and an inability to focus. To those already struggling with mental health, this could exacerbate the symptoms," said mental health professional Rhea Raghavi Dubey to SheThePeople in an earlier interaction.

Studies Around Mental Health During Pandemic

A rapid assessment done by UNICEF amplified the voices of 8,444 adolescents and young people between the ages of 13 and 29 in nine countries and territories in the region.

The report highlights that younger women report a higher percentage of anxiety. 27% of the participants reported feeling anxiety and 15% depression in the last seven days.


Dr Nicolas Franck, the head of a psychiatric network in Lyon says, "Many feel they’re paying the price not of the pandemic, but of the measures taken against the pandemic." He further adds that in a survey of 30,000 people that he conducted last spring, young people ranked the lowest in psychological well-being.

Another study reads on the same line where it identifies, "Globally, the pre-lockdown learning of children and adolescents predominantly involved one-to-one interaction with their mentors and peer groups. Unfortunately, the nationwide closures of schools and colleges have negatively impacted over 91% of the world's student population. The home confinement of children and adolescents is associated with uncertainty and anxiety which is attributable to disruption in their education, physical activities, and opportunities for socialisation." Ultimately, these sudden social confinements became the primary cause of distress for the youth.

Nandini, 20, studying at the University of Delhi, resonates the distress issues. She told SheThePeople.TV, "As the lockdown is getting over and things are getting better I feel even more anxious, for the last one-and-a-half-year I haven’t stepped out. So, if I now meet my friends I have started getting the social anxiety."

"The despair has also increased there was a constant feeling of emptiness that was there, and now even though things are getting better so there is the feeling what if a new strain of COVID-19 comes up or what if the vaccine doesn’t work, so there is a lot of what ifs," the 20-year-old further adds.

"The dragged COVID-19 pandemic has increased my anxiety due to lack of social/outside physical interaction with other people. Excessive use of social media, and disheartening news stories such as the death of the migrants, misinformation, disinformation, rumours, etc., added the already existing pool of distress," quips Vaishnavi Das, a 20-year-old media aspirant.

The Way Forward

The situation around the pandemic is getting back on track but the impact it had or is still having on the young minds will stay for a bit longer. Moreover, the uncertainty which is still engulfing the global village is further adding to the pre-existing anxiety. The way forward anticipates looking back to the normal world with few tweaked changes to 'that' normal.

mental health Coronavirus Anxiety UNICEF