Social distancing is effective in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus and ensuring the number of cases can be safely managed by hospitals. However, quarantine can also cause intense feelings of loneliness and anxiety. 

CitiesRISE is an international initiative created to “tackle the urgent need to improve mental health through collective action in major cities that will catalyze systemic change across sectors.” CitiesRISE recently conducted a survey to determine the way COVID-19 is impacting young people. 

The survey results contain many interesting points. Firstly when it comes to information about the pandemic: 87% of respondents consider themselves to be “well-informed” about the current situation. About 99% report staying home whenever they can, almost all citing preservation “of their mental and physical safety.” 

Some of the responses however, showed the lack of awareness and stigma surrounding mental health; 65% of respondents said they had “no awareness of mental health organizations, programs, and services.” Also, less than 14% said they would seek professional mental health support, while 63% said they would turn to family and friends. 

The survey found that young people are experiencing feelings of “anxiety, fear, loneliness” amidst the pandemic and the stay-at-home order. The next section of the survey however focused on what young people want and need to best take care of themselves and each other in these times of uncertainty.

Respondents explained that they need “coping tools for stress reduction, relaxation, managing uncertainty, time management, and positive thinking.” They also explained that they would like information to be administered through social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. 

More specifically, most respondents indicated that they would like more peer advocates and mentors, also better access to these resources being provided through school spaces. Next, the respondents also cited a desire for youth spaces in which people can connect, learn and heal.

This survey provides lots of valuable insight into the youth experience of COVID-19. In addition, the survey was conducted in 5 cities around the world which can also help show similarities and differences in the experiences of young people around the world.