MELBOURNE, Australia — Young Australians are stressed about how the pandemic has impacted their education and mental health and are concerned about ongoing isolation, a new survey has found.
Additionally, 17-year-olds were the most likely to say Covid-19 has severely impacted their education.
Many of those surveyed said disruptions to their everyday lives due to the pandemic have made them feel worried, stressed, and without access to their usual supports.
“Our school is not doing enough in terms of accounting for the abnormal state of the world when it comes to setting assessments; I have never felt so simultaneously stressed and unmotivated,” a 17-year-old Victorian girl said in the survey.
“There has been an extreme lack of allowances for Covid-19 and online learning, so I am consistently stressed about a school, on top of being stressed about the world.”
More than 25,000 people aged between 15 and 19 responded to the survey, with 1650 young people saying Covid-19 had been their most significant personal concern in 2020.
About two-thirds of young people with mental health concerns due to Covid-19 were girls, 68.9 percent, compared with 23.9 percent of boys.
Mission Australia’s chief executive James Toomey said the results are significant because the pandemic disrupts young people.
“The pandemic is still in play. With lockdowns and tighter restrictions recently triggered in response to Covid-19, we must take heed of what young people told us about their experiences and solutions in 2020,” he said.
“We are very concerned that the impact of this virus will continue to have flow-on effects on young people’s lives now and their futures.”
Despite various levels of government investment in mental health, Toomey said there are still “large gaps” in the mental health system, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized groups.
Mission Australia has recommended more support for young people in schools to help their well-being and support them in completing school work.
The charity said mental health prevention and early intervention support delivered in more flexible formats are needed to address issues that may arise during periods of isolation.
As of June 22, 2021, the number of Covid-19 cases in the Australian state of Victoria was 312.18 people per 100,000 of the population. From March and most of April 2020, New South Wales held the highest proportion of cases.
Tasmania overtook New South Wales in late April. However, in late June 2020, a rapid increase in recorded cases in Victoria saw the south-eastern state overtake the other states and territories in documented cases.
Since late 2020 coronavirus outbreaks in Australia have mostly been limited to the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne and have been managed with short-term lockdown measures.
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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