'The class of Covid - Half of young people in South West anxious about future

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Covid has left many young people feeling like their life is spiraling out of control, according to new research.

The Prince's Trust has found 52% of young people in the South West feel anxious about their future on a daily basis, with more than half (63%) agreeing it feels frightening for their generation.

One of those who has struggled with anxiety is 22-year-old Billie-Jae Brown from Gloucester.

Having lived through the pandemic young people are now facing a cost of living crisis, which she says is causing young people in the West Country to fear for their future.

Billie-Jae struggled with anxiety

Billie has just started a job as a receptionist at a vets in Filton but during the height of the pandemic she couldn't imagine leaving her home, let alone working - as her anxiety had spiralled.

She said: "Certain things like taking a bus is very anxiety-inducing for me. I couldn't do that during the pandemic and you have to do the things that make you feel anxious in order to get rid of them and if you can't do that then the fear builds up.

"My type of anxiety, I don't have a trigger, which is probably worse as you can't define what starts it and what stops it."

Billie is not alone. The Prince's Trust in Bristol says young people have become the Class of Covid - where the pandemic continues to have an impact.

Sarah Pitchard from The Prince's Trust said young people have faced "unprecedented challenges"

Sarah Pritchard, from the Trust, said: "Young people have gone through unprecedented challenges that not only affects their education and confidence, but has also left them incredibly anxious about their future prospects.

"2.8 million people now don't feel they have prospects in the job market which is shocking."

The charity has made a film as part of a campaign to highlight the need to support young people.

Billie is one of those the charity has helped. Having a job has improved her mental health and given her confidence. But like others, she's now facing a cost of living crisis, which is weighing heavily on her mind.

She said: "Even though I have the job of my dreams, it doesn't mean outside things don't affect me. I still have to think 'am I working enough hours to pay the bills?', 'am I working enough hours to live properly?', so I can understand how everyone is anxious at the moment regardless of job security.

"We're going through a lot of things that should only happen once in a generation - but lots of things have happened over the past two or three years."