One in four young people in Uttar Pradesh experienced depression during the lockdown, finds a study on the impact of Covid-19 on young people, conducted by the Population Foundation of India. Another study found high social media usage and increasing anxiety over joblessness among the youth.
To understand how India’s young people are coping with these challenges, the Population Foundation of India (PFI) conducted two rapid assessment surveys to understand the level of knowledge and attitude of young people towards Covid -19 and how it has impacted their lives and mental health.
The key findings show that 68 per cent respondents in Uttar Pradesh reported an increase in social media use during the lockdown. Of those respondents who reported feeling depressed, social media use was even higher at 92 per cent. Six of 10 students responded that they felt anxiety regarding their ability to find jobs due to Covid-19 while one in four young people in UP experienced depression during the lockdown, Poonam Muttreja, executive director of PFI, said in a statement issued on the occasion of International Youth Day.
The survey was conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar, and collected responses from 801 respondents (271 boys and 530 girls), in the age group of 15 -24 years.
“These studies present new data on the differential impact of Covid-19 and make important recommendations to ensure that young people’s health needs and priorities are central to our response planning and recovery efforts,” said Muttreja.
`Mann Mela – mental health museum’ launched on International Youth Day
Goa-based NGO Sangath, which works in the field of mental health, has announced the launch of the digital arm of its ‘Mann Mela’ project. It is India’s first mental health museum, supported by the Wellcome Trust, UK. By sharing young people’s experiences, the museum tackles common misconceptions about mental health and mental illness, with the aim to break down stigma and discrimination and encouraging help-seeking.
Vikram Patel, international mental health expert at Harvard Medical School, who is an advisor on this project, said Mann Mela’s effort is to build awareness that mental health is an integral part of daily life for everyone, and that managing difficulties and struggle is crucial to enabling young people in India to thrive.
“In addition to the actual threat of the infection, mental health is emerging as a key concern, especially for young people. Our project lays emphasis on young people’s stories about the centrality of mental health for well-being, the vulnerabilities which some experience and that are being greatly exacerbated by the times we are now living in, and the routes to resilience and recovery. We want these stories to be told and heard throughout India, a country with the largest number of young people in the world,” said Dr Patel.
Both a traveling and online museum, ‘Mann Mela’ will feature a set of young people’s stories from across India, told through innovative mixed media formats.
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