What do you think makes young people most anxious or unhappy these days?

“School pressures are a big issue, such as the expectation on young people to go to sixth form or attend university in order to determine their life choices.

“Social media is a huge pressure too. The need to have followers or likes or to stay current with trends. The pressure to be popular or be a certain way in school and the community can be a lot for young people.

“Though some parts of social media can be informative and positive, there is always the negative side that can really impact badly on young people.”

Do you think young people are more or less unhappy than, say, five years ago?

“I think more unhappy, there are loads of pressures to fit in or be a certain way.

“The impact of Covid has been a factor too. I’ve noticed that people younger than me are behaving younger than their age, maybe because they have missed out on education and that socialising aspect of school.”


What kind of issues are you seeing among your peers at the moment?

“Self-esteem is a big one, as well as lack of confidence. Some young people are maybe not as good as communicating because of Covid and having been isolated for so long. Many of their anxieties are coming back to the surface now that things are back to normal.

When it comes to comforting a young person in crisis, what would you tell an adult would be the best place to start?

“Start with understanding, validate how they feel even if you don’t understand it, because it’s their feelings. If you don’t know how to help, ask them or help them find support.

“Don’t push too much if they don’t want to talk, sometimes spending time with them can help, just being there. If you push too hard it could drive them away.”

Are there any coping mechanisms you have found that work better than others for anxiety?

“Going on walks can help, being active or taking exercise. Doing this with someone else can help too, as it’s a distraction from your feelings. Being anxious on your own can often make you more anxious.”

How can society better try to understand the issues facing young people at the moment?

“Teenagers or young people can be stereotyped, grouped in together. Everyone is individual and all their feelings should be validated. They can be misjudged and seen as attention seeking, or that they cause trouble.

“Sometimes this behaviour can be a cry for help, and adults may portray it as ‘teenage angst’, when in fact a young person may be unaware of how to express themselves and are unsure what to do, or how to handle their feelings.”

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