Posted: 20 March 2020

From memes to lockdown: how are young people feeling about Coronavirus Covid-19?

This week, many workplaces and schools closed, meaning families and young people were suddenly faced with new challenges and pressures.

For vulnerable young people this is an especially worrying time and it can be difficult to make sense of everything. We want young people to know they're not alone and we will continue to fight for their support. 

Tilly (16), like many young people, isn't sure what to think of everthing going on. She tells us how it went from a meme to nationwide lockdowns...

CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 INFORMATION AND ADVICE

Just a bit of banter

When news of coronavirus started to pop up on feeds, it was nothing more than a laugh. Memes on Instagram, jokes in school, it didn't seem like anything of major significance at all. Just a bit of banter. Even the news played it down, it was just another illness that would come and go whilst the rest of the world got on with their lives, unaffected and relatively unconcerned.

It carried on like this for weeks. Even when the spread had started, I assumed that if it was anything of any significance people wouldn’t be joking about it. Whilst most of my friends adopted an ‘if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry’ approach I started taking it more seriously which, because I had no control over the situation anyway, just made me more worried about the coming days, weeks and months.

Social takeover

With constant news reports and updates I became more and more anxious, refreshing the news app, listening to the radio and watching TV news reports. It slowly seemed to take over everything. People seemed to be either overreacting or underreacting which became more and more frustrating as I couldn’t work out how serious this really was. It was only when it was officially labelled as a pandemic that I really started to listen. 

'Would schools shut?'

“Would schools shut?” “Will I be stuck in my house for weeks?” “WHY ARE PEOPLE PANIC BUYING TOILET ROLLS?!” There were so many questions and nobody really knew the answers.

Talk of the school

It was (and still is) all that anybody spoke about. Tensions slowly started to rise. Everyone became somewhat paranoid, giving anyone who dared to cough or sneeze the side eye and discreetly shuffling away. Walking out of lesson I knew lunch would just be more discussions and more jokes and more opinions. I tried to not get involved as it undoubtedly put me in a bad mood every. single. time. but when it’s all anyone is talking about, you easily get sucked into it. 

We were given allocated handwashing times at school which, as patronising as it felt, did somewhat reassure me. I was shocked it had gotten to this point. Everyday life had been disrupted in a way I hadn’t seen before.

It'll blow over soon?

I tried to maintain an optimistic approach, telling myself “It’ll blow over soon enough” which so far, isn’t working out great. Usually when I feel a bit anxious or stressed, I’ll go out with my friends to try and distract myself so being cooped up in my room isn’t exactly doing me any favours.

The media plays a SUCH an important role in determining peoples outlooks on anything and I think that by changing the things they put out, people may start having a different and more positive attitude towards what’s yet to come.

But in the mean time...

'I’ll just keep washing my hands and singing happy birthday.'

The uncertainty Tilly feels is not uncommon. Many young people feel overwhelmed and powerless.

We need to make sure we are there for the young people who need our support. If you would like advice and support, please see our Coronavirus information and resources.

CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 INFORMATION AND ADVICE

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