World mental health day: How lockdown has caused a mental health crisis among young people

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian reporter Rosalie Falla

More than 80% of young people say their mental health has been seriously impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a leading charity.

Young Minds has told ITV News Meridian that loneliness, the fear of watching family members fall ill and disruption to school or work are "hugely adding to the pressures young people are facing."

A charity that supports young people across Surrey has said it wants to encourage young people to "have a conversation" about how they're feeling.

The Lucy Rayner foundation was set up by Jennifer Rayner in memory of her daughter.

Lucy was 22-years-old when she took her own life - and at the time, Jennifer said the family "didn't understand why that was."

Jennifer (R) launched the foundation in Lucy's (L) name in 2012

"We'd gone to the doctors and she wasn't diagnosed with any depression at all," she explains.

"So when she took her own life it was kind of like, how did we miss that?

"We knew she had mood swing but she went to the doctor and they just changed her contraceptive pill and said it was hormonal.

"And 2 weeks after that, she was gone."

The foundation aims to help young people who, like Lucy, might slip through the gaps in support.

Danielle Coomber is a nurse who turned to the Lucy Rayner foundation for help with her anxiety.

She said coronavirus has been "overwhelming."

"Unfortunately Covid was extremely overwhelming for me.

"I ended up having to have time off work over the last couple of months and if I didn't have this, the first bridging gap of Lucy Rayner last year I never would have had any of this."

The charity also works to train mental health first aiders, giving them the confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress.  

Claudia Van-Nimwegen, a service user who is training as a mental health first aider, said her own experience taught her "it is okay to reach out, you don't have to hold it all in."

Young Minds is another charity that has been at the forefront of helping young people cope with the stresses and strains of the pandemic.

They say that 83% of young people contacting them for help identifies the coronavirus pandemic has having had a negative impact on their wellbeing.

Deidre Kehoe from Young Minds said: "When you think about the fear of seeing loved ones fall ill, the difficulties in social connections that young people have had over the last 6 months or so, the impact of the loneliness that we're really hearing about now and the disruption to education its just hugely adding to the pressures that young people are facing. 

This World Mental Health Day (10 October), Jennifer wants to encourage others, especially parents, to engage with young people and talk about how they're feeling.

"You know your child, if you know that your child is struggling with anxiety, low self esteem, with lack of confidence then you know that you need to support them in whatever way you can.

"it's having a conversation with them."

For advice and support on the issues raised in this report, you can contact:

Mind: 0300 123 3393

Samaritans: 116 123

YoungMinds: 0808 802 5544

Calm: 0800 58 58 58