Young people's experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic

We have carried out a survey to find out how Sheffield's young people were experiencing the pandemic. 299 secondary school aged young people took part, telling us their views on lockdown rules, education and other areas of life that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our key findings

Key things that really affected our young people:

  1. being unable to see family and friends was the hardest thing for young people to cope with
  2. school, exams and education being disrupted was a major worry. Many were anxious about how this would impact on their future, for example, their chances of getting into college, university or a job
  3. feeling isolated, the lack of support and missing out on key experiences were common issues
  4. young people said they had been very worried about friends, family and loved ones contracting COVID-19 and that they might become seriously ill or die. Those that were worried about catching it themselves were more concerned about transmitting it to older relatives
  5. 63% of respondents said they had struggled more than usual with their mental health and wellbeing, however, 9% said their mental health had improved
  6. those who struggled with their mental health spoke of increased anxiety, panic attacks, depression, self-harm and thoughts of suicide
  7. 56% of young people said there had been good things for them over the last year. Spending more time with their family was the most positive aspect of lockdown
  8. many young people used the opportunity to take up new pastimes and hobbies or rediscover things they once enjoyed
  9. 72% of respondents said they found the government’s rules “very easy” or “quite easy” to understand
  10. 10.56% thought it was “very important” to stick to the government’s restrictions and 34% thought this was “quite important”
  11. 11.63% of young people said they hadn’t “always” followed the rules around social distancing
  12. reasons given for not always obeying the rules included needing to see or help family and friends, confusion about, or forgetting, the restrictions and it being hard always to socially distance

Read our full report

You can download and read our full report to learn more about the experiences of Sheffield's young people.

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