Between May 6 and June 1, you told your Barnardo’s worker how Coronavirus and the lockdown was affecting you and what you wanted to change.
We heard from 113 young people from across the UK, aged 13-25, with a range of different life experiences, including those with physical, mental and/or learning disabilities; young people living with their parents, foster carers, their partners or on their own; care leavers; young parents; refugee & asylum seekers and young carers.
Here are some of the key things you told us.
Typical Day and Feelings about Lockdown
Here are some examples of how you told us the lockdown was affecting you.
Lack of routine
Lots of young people said their days had changed a lot since lockdown, they were no longer going to school or work and days were less structured. This had both negative and positive impacts.
“I wake up, take the dogs out, play on Xbox, watch Netflix, play Xbox, take dogs out, have dinner. Play Xbox, go bed.” [Female, 15yrs]
“Sometimes you feel like you have less motivation because you are constantly doing the same things everyday. It can mess up your sleeping patterns.” [Female, 14yrs]
“I enjoy being able to go to bed a bit later, not having to get up so early and not having to make the long taxi journey to school and back.” [Male, 15yrs]
Time standing still
Lots of young people said that they felt ‘stuck’ or like time was standing still. Some said that they had accepted this and got on with it, but others felt very frustrated and powerless.
“...at the beginning lockdown was stressful...there was so much adrenaline, everything was different because it was new, then you kind of got used to it and now it feels like time is standing still, it’s completely different.” [Female, 22yrs]
Most young people said that they found the lack of social contact with friends and family really difficult, as well as not being able to do ‘normal things’ like going to McDonalds. Lots of young people said that they were struggling with their mental health because the things that help them stay well aren’t available.
“It hurt me too much the lockdown because for my personality, if I sit alone I get bad ideas in my brain. I need to be busy, be outside, when I get bad ideas they stay for 3 or 4 days. It is bad for me the lockdown.” [Male, 17yrs]
“Been a reminder that I've not got the same support as others like a Mum and Dad, whereas other people at my university are getting collected by family I'm here alone.” [Female, 23yrs]
Here are some examples of what you told us about support you are getting and what you want.
Young people said that they are receiving more flexible support from Barnardo’s staff and this less structured/rigid way of working was often appreciated.
“I like how I get to spend more time with staff and I like how it’s the same staff for longer, makes me feel like a family. I like how staff have more time to spend with me and not always having to do runs in the car.” [Male, 16yrs]
Lack of support
Some young people said that they felt that they weren’t getting enough support from other organisations, or that it was more difficult to contact them.
“Don't see my leaving care worker at all, he's said to only contact if it’s an emergency.” [Male, 21yrs]
“For me the restrictions mean I can't move on and I don't have a laptop to access any online resources except on my phone. I have been identified as in need of housing but I can't move.” [Male, 21yrs]
Mental health support
A number of young people said that they wanted more support with their mental health. They often said that they found it difficult not having face to face support.
“I would like to have more resources available for my mental health. Borderline Personality Disorder is an unknown subject to many but so many people will also be suffering from it during this time.” [Female, 20 yrs]
“I think I would like more “normal” contact from people, I mean not the sort where people check in and ask you how your mental health is but more like informal friendly chats that can make you feel more normal.” [Female, 17yrs]
“More support with money and stress side of it and going out. Cos the going out with my anxiety when someone coughs near me I get worried and think you better not pass me anything” [Female, 20yrs]
Young people often said that they found the information they were getting was confusing, and that the constant negative stories, or overload of information, was having an impact on their mental health.
Young people also said that they wished decision makers understood more about how the current situation was affecting their mental health.
“It's not easy, like people think it's easy, you're just staying in the house as long as you've got something to do it’s ok, but it's not like that, for a lot of people staying inside on your own you feel trapped and you're trapped with your own thoughts.” [Female, 20yrs]
Here are some examples of what you told us you want the world to look like post-Coronavirus.
Back to normal
Lots of young people said that they want things to go back to normal.
“I would like to be sitting in my own house and have friends - this would be the best thing. All the people are now worried and distanced from each other - you start to feel like you are a microbe and all people want to stay away from you.” [Male, 17yrs]
A kinder world
Many young people talked about a world where people are kinder to each other, take less for granted and are more aware of what’s important.
“We all know that life as we knew it isn't going to be the same. I think it would be nice for the world to still be part of a community, people caring for each other and offering each other help like we have done during lockdown, people checking up on each other, to see that again because we had all stopped doing it before. So seeing the true value of life. Everything was quite materialistic, people have learnt the value of what is essential to live on, to live a happy life, and also the value of families. You don't have as much time as you think with your loved ones to make the most of it.” [Female, 25yrs]
A number of young people also said that they wanted others to learn from this time, and understand how their life experiences may differ.
“The pandemic has shown the rest of the population what it is like to lose control over your life, to be devalued by forces beyond their control in a world that does not play to your strengths. Do not forget that you got a taste of my world and do not expect me to live in a world that you did not like.” [Female, 19yrs]
We’ve written a report on your experiences during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and your visions for the future.