Youth voice Life in Lockdown “I don’t really have a routine… I’m looking forward to going back to school” As we continue to work hard to offer support and hear first-hand about the issues our programme participants are facing during lockdown, we want to share their stories so that their voices are heard. Carly, 13 “I’m really struggling to cope with my anxiety more than usual” “When I was at school I had a routine, but now I don’t really have one. I do about four hours of schoolwork a day, but I’m finding it a harder because when I’m not sure what to do my brother and my mum don’t know either so I don’t have help. I’m looking forward to when we go back to school. I walk my dog and play with her too because she gets bored, but then I’ll just watch Netflix. It can get hard having everyone at home as well because normally if I have an argument with my mum or brother I could go to my Nan’s for a bit but now I can’t and it puts a lot of pressure on me. My anxiety is really bad and I’m really struggling to cope with it more than usual. I’m not sure why. Being in the house a lot makes me feel down. I’m kind of used to feeling like that because of my anxiety and other things, but this is a bit different.” Zoe, 13 "I have no motivation" “I felt happy at first that I wouldn’t have to go to school but now I miss it because at home there is nothing to do. I have a lot of work to complete but I still feel like I have missed out on a lot of my education. Doing work at home is harder than at school because we haven’t got a teacher explaining things. Social media can help with my school work but I don’t find it very positive because of all the posts are about COVID-19. I miss my friends and family. My sleeping pattern has changed a lot because I am staying up later and I have no motivation at the moment.” Zoe and Carly’s stories are not unusual. Recent surveys have suggested that anxiety is one of several significant mental health concerns being triggered and worsened by the current situation. Both social media and lack of routine may be contributing to this and other wellbeing issues. According to a recent report by the National Youth Agency “over a million young people have self-reported mental health issues. There is a spike in concerns raised on Help Lines, with 84% reporting worse mental health following school closures and 26% being no longer able to access mental health support.” Following the most recent government announcements it is still unclear how long young people like Zoe and Carly will be out of school. As the UK hopes to gradually emerge from lockdown the simple truth is that some young people are going to need our support to get back on track more than ever, both in the immediate future and the long term. It is vital they are not left behind as we exit lockdown and that we continue to think about how our most vulnerable young people may have been affected. Can you help us get our young people’s stories heard? Voices like Zoe and Carly’s are so often overlooked by the media. You can help by sharing these stories on your social media channels and you can sign up here to receive new stories. If you want to know more about what we’re doing to support young people during the current crisis Will Cole, our Head of Impact & Programme Development, shares what we are doing in response to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 and why he's optimistic about the future here.