Young people urged to 'find purpose' during lockdown to aid mental health

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Abigail Bracken

Many young people are having a tough time during the coronavirus pandemic.

Exams they have been working towards for years have been cancelled, and for those that are changing schools or moving to university, they may not have the chance to say goodbye to their friends.

And now they've been in lockdown with their families for eight weeks.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, young people are being urged to find themselves a purpose during lockdown.

One of them is Claire Holloway from Hampshire, who's been taking up lots of saxophone practice during the lockdown. The GCSEs that should have been taking up her time are no longer going ahead as planned.

Ewan Stewart from Chandlers Ford

This lack of purpose is widespread among teenagers who have missed out on exams, according to University of Southampton researchers from LifeLab.

They have been studying teenagers' response to the lockdown, like Ewan Stewart from Chandlers Ford.

He says: "It's not just us, it's older people we have to look out for, because like even if we get it, it's not necessarily bad, but if we give it to older people or your parents or something, then that contributes to how it spreads."

LifeLab, which normally brings teenagers in to its base at University Hospital Southampton, is now giving advice online.

An expert in adolescence from Oxford says that young people, along with feeling stressed, may also feel let down.

Clinical psychologist, Dr John Coleman, says: "They may feel that something very important has been taken away from them, that all the things that they had hoped for particularly in the summer are not going to happen, they are going to lose out, there's a sense of loss and being let down."

The Eggtooth Project, library pictures Credit: ITV Meridian

In Sussex, The Eggtooth Project, which provides music therapy and outdoor therapies in Hastings, is now also giving support online to young people.

Director and Eggtooth Founder, Laura Clark, says some may not see mental health as a top priority.

Izzy Withers from Heathfield

Izzy Withers from Heathfield who suffers with anxiety, performed her first gig through an Eggtooth Project.

The charity has continued to support her in recent weeks.