Back in May of this year, a couple of months into the Covid-19 restrictions, 24,000 children and young people in Wales took part in a consultation to find out how they were feeling. A report was created from all the answers called ‘Coronavirus and Me‘. We’re taking a peek at some interesting figures from the report.
This consultation was developed by the Welsh Government, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Welsh Youth Parliament and Children in Wales. They asked 3 to 18 year olds in Wales to answer a survey, giving you a chance to express how you were feeling. In this article we’re looking specifically at the answers given by the 12-18 age range, a total of 11,002 young people.
One of the questions asked was ‘How have you been feeling during the Coronavirus Crisis?’
- Happy – 50% of you said you felt happy most of the time; 40% some of the time and 10% not very often
- Worried – 14% said you felt worried most of the time; 41% some of the time and 44% not very often
- Sad – 16% said you felt sad most of the time; 41% some of the time and 43% not very often
- Safe – 78% said you felt safe most of the time; 18% some of the time and 4% not very often
It’s good that the majority of you are feeling happy and safe. The things that affected the way you were feeling the most were not being able to spend time with friends (72%), not being able to visit family members (59%) and your school or college closing (42%).
Emotional and Mental Health
People are worried that the Coronavirus restrictions put in place were going to have a negative effect on people’s mental health. The survey asked if you would be happy asking for emotional or mental health support from the following people:
- Friends or family – 83%
- Website or social media – 53%
- Teachers or other school staff – 53%
- Doctor – 52%
- Mental Health Team – 43%
- School Counseling – 39%
The fact that most of you were at home with your family meant that it was great that 83% of you felt confident with asking them for help as they were the ones that were most easily accessible to you during this time. For those that were not comfortable with asking their family the survey was useful in pointing out other options of support that they could turn too.
For the majority of you, one of the biggest impacts that the pandemic had on your lives was the fact that schools and colleges had to close. Some of you were not able to take your exams, people missed out on their last weeks ever of school, leavers balls were cancelled and life moved to learning online.
In the survey, you were given a choice of sentences and asked which ones were true for you. You were allowed to choose as many as you wanted. These were the top 5 answers:
- I’m worried about getting behind with learning – 54%
- I’m sad about missing out on experiences I was looking forward to – 53%
- I’m worried about how this could affect my exam results – 52%
- I don’t feel motivated to do school work at home – 48%
- I’m worried about starting a new year or new school in September – 30%
Lots wanted more contact and help from school, with a number wanting lessons over video. Some of you were struggling with having to do work from home because parents were working and you needed more support.
Under normal circumstances, if someone told you that you didn’t have to sit an exam, you’d expect to be happy about it, but having it taken away from you so suddenly during the pandemic meant that some of you weren’t sure how to feel about it. This is how you said you felt about exams being cancelled:
- Uncertain – 50%
- Worried – 18%
- Happy – 17%
- Angry – 6%
- Sad – 5%
- Other – 4%
After all the work you’d put in it was a very strange situation to be in and some of you were worried about the grades your teachers were going to give you and if you would get what you needed to go on to University.
The survey was interested in where you were getting your information about Coronavirus, and you were able to choose more than one source. The top answers were:
- TV – 71%
- Parents or family – 70%
- Posts from news accounts on social media – 48%
- News websites or apps – 48%
Lockdown gave us plenty of time to relax, and this was echoed in your answers to the question if you were relaxing more or less often since schools closed.
- 61% – Relaxing more
- 22% – About the same
- 16% – Relaxing less
Most of you said you’d been talking to friends online and exercising. Reading, watching TV and spending time with family also came up often.
While the majority of you were not affected negatively during the Coronavirus lockdown, there were some of you that were struggling. You may have lost loved ones during this time. You could be feeling sad or worried, not able to relax, unable to access your usual emotional and mental health support and struggling with school/college work or stressing about missing exams.
Welsh Government and other public bodies will be using the results of this survey to help them with making decisions, and making sure they are listening to your voices when developing any services or policies in the future.
Want to read the full consultation, or an accessible shorter version with easy to read symbols? You can find them here.
Check out our Coronavirus pages.