The Lockdown can have many effects on young people. There are different ways that it can affect them. It can affect their mental health, their relationships within their families and their relationships with their friends. As a Volunteer at Silx I spoke to a number of young people from a range of backgrounds aged 16-24 to find out how the Lockdown has affected their mental health and relationships. Below are some of the responses that were given;
Courtney, aged 16, ‘it makes me stay up all night and have nightmares. It makes me worry about the elderly and how they are going to cope, and how some live alone and have no one to talk too. I worry about their mental health as well as mine’.
Amba, aged 16, commented ‘it is affecting my mental health as I feel like it is driving me insane, I feel like I’m having full conversations with myself’.
Elise, aged 16, commented ’It’s just overall not a great time, everyones stressed and it is rubbing off’.
Holly, aged 17, commented ‘I’m worried I’m going to have to go in and have my baby by myself and I’m worried about bringing her into this world when this is going on if it’s still going on by July’.
Callum, aged 19, ’I’m not worried, I’m going about as normal, I’m getting more exercise if anything , working as a carer can be scary but got all the right equipment to keep me safe so no worries for me’.
Keighleigh, aged 24, commented ‘The lockdown is affecting my mental health a lot where I would have random breakdowns. It also worries me because I’m already dealing with my illness and I can’t get medication from chemists because they are always out and I’m worried incase is will make me really ill’.
Tirzah, aged 23, commented ‘I’m kinda worried about my wedding. I guess that’s the biggest right now as it’s in August’.
Jasmin, aged 18, commented ‘The lockdown has increased my anxiety, I have friends and family who are key workers, and I often worry about them.I am also worried about how different life could be after lockdown. Due to lack of structure to my days I have lost motivation, resulting in me finding it difficult to complete uni work’.
Isabelle, aged 19, commented, ‘I would say that I haven’t been affected as bad as others. Between the internet, reading and college assignments, I’ve managed t0 keep myself happily occupied. I may have gained a little weight, but I have some home equipment I can use. While it would have been nice to see them in person, I can still message or call my friends or family at any time. It’s not ideal, but enough got me to know everyone I care about is okay. In terms of worries, mu family makes supply runs for our elder members. Sometimes I worry for our elder members. Sometimes I worry I might pick up something with the virus and give it to them, so we make sure they have enough cleaning wipes to disinfect what we give them. I’m also worried about my friends and families that still have to go out and work with the virus – I just have to hope they are all safe’
Being worried about family members and not being able to see friends seems to be the most common response given and this is why having someone to talk to, or to virtually meet up with Friends is so important and is why places like Silx still operating virtually is great for the mental wellbeing of the young people that go there.
What has Silx been doing for young people?
Even though the Silx building is closed, the Silx staff have been working hard to keep in contact with the young people that attend the Employability and Teen Bar sessions through the use of social media including Facebook and Twitter as normal, new social media accounts on Instagram and Snapchat, and their use of the Zoom app. The workers have been keeping the young people updated with the facts on the virus, ways to keep safe and ways to keep busy while staying in the comfort and safety of their own homes. As well as giving advice on how to keep busy and safe while at home, the staff members have also been having challenges on instagram for the young people to get involved with and incentives of winning prizes when Silx reopens.
What Silx has Been Doing For Young People?
The Zoom calls take place twice a day a 1pm call for the young people who attend the Employability sessions and 6pm for the young people that attend Teen Bar, during the calls the young people are given the opportunity to speak to the staff members about anything that is worrying them about the Coronavirus as well as catching up with their friends. On the Zoom call in the evenings, the young people are given different challenges to complete within the call times and quizzes, with the opportunity to win prizes for the highest scorers. During the lockdown period, Silx have also been sending the young people, care packages to make their times in lockdown and in their houses happier.
For those that attend the Employability sessions, as well as a daily Zoom call there are still a number of ways that the young can contact the workers to seek advice and help with benefits and to start courses just as they would be able to within the session times. The young people that have taken part in the Employability Zoom calls have also been sent gifts from staff which is great for raising morale.