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The Impact of COVID-19 on young people – Hannah’s story

Reading’s mental health charity for children and young people, No5, recently produced a report that examines the impact of COVID-19 from a ground up perspective. In an extract from the report, Hannah, a No5 Young Ambassador, tells her experience of the pandemic in her own words.
No5 Reading Hannah

A year ago, if someone had said there would be a virus that would start a global pandemic, forcing countless countries to go into lockdown; I for one know I would not have believed it. I have always seen the world slightly differently as a result of my OCD. So, to one day wake up and have everyone suddenly taking all these additional precautions that I didn’t think twice about doing was surreal. Not to brag or anything, but I like to think I was ahead of the game.

For me, the word ‘pandemic’ is scary enough, but the idea that this virus was global and growing really heightened my anxiety. Undoubtedly, I was angry at myself because of this. I had made so much progress over the years to overcome certain aspects of my OCD, but the lockdown really threatened this. 

I quickly realised that I had the wrong attitude towards it. I engaged myself in news updates and researched thoroughly around how I could play my part to help during the pandemic. A large part of my OCD stereotypically surrounds illness so my vigilance with PPE and cleanliness was helpful in this case. 

I began working in care because the vast research I had completed drew attention to the ever-increasing death rates in care homes as a result of the virus. This took me away from my overwhelming anxiety and guilt as I felt as though I was doing everything I could to help. It also took away from the loneliness and gave me a sense of purpose again. 

No5 Reading Hannah

Sadly, I know many young people, like myself at the start of it all, who were very negatively impacted by lockdown. What we fail to consider as young people is that we only show what we want others to see. With social media as a vital form of communication during this time, many of us are focusing on others’ online presence. Which takes a toll on your mentality and belittles personal battles and self-improvements. Over lockdown there has been many trends across social media that involve bettering your physical appearance. But working on your mental health is just as important as working on your physical health. When simple tasks like going to the shop come with such overwhelming anxieties, just being willing to do these activities is an amazing thing; something that should be celebrated. 

We need to draw attention to the fact that, as a collective, we are surviving a global pandemic. This shouldn’t be overlooked. As although it is hard, we are getting through it. We are all living through it; however, this may be.  

Read the full report here