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A student's perspective of the effects of lockdown on mental health

Glossopdale Sixth Form student Millie Talbot, who joined us recently for work experience, writes an insightful and personal account about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted her wellbeing. 

When lockdown first began, I was in the beginning of Year 9, a year that is meant to be full of laughs and free of the stress that exams incited. If you had told me at that time that a pandemic would sweep the globe and people worldwide would be confined between four walls in compulsory isolation, I doubt I would have believed it. Throughout the span of the pandemic, many people have been talking about how mental health took a huge hit within lockdown, but not many are vocal about the effects it left afterwards. 

I speak from experience when I say that the easing out of isolation was just as hard as actually being in it and I, along with many other teenagers, were left feeling anxious and uncertain about rediscovering the world again, having missed a vital time of development and exploration within our lives. 

For some, leaving the house was a challenge that they hadn’t had to face in many months, so when they were finally presented with it, the fear was overpowering.

Some like myself avoided doing so at all costs, missing out on even more of my childhood due to this deadly virus. People may struggle to recognise the hardship others face coming out of lockdown due to the expectation that the easing of restrictions meant happiness all round, while some had become so comfortable with their own company and the lack of pressure of school and social situations that the prospect of freedom was daunting.

Being thrown back into the school environment was terrifying in itself; paired with the new rules of ‘bubbles’ and talking to unfamiliar faces through masks made the whole situation something that felt even more uncomfortable. Not only were young people adjusting to being back in the normal world, the anxieties that came with the corona virus added to the weight they were forced to carry, constantly reminded of the dangers it presented.

Though these reminders were vital in the control of the virus, the lack of appreciation for the mental anguish this caused to vulnerable minds cannot be denied. I was one of the lucky few that received the help of CHAMs and Healthy Young Minds, however those on the waiting list can be waiting for months, fighting their battles alone within that time. 

My personal view is that more attention needs to be brought to mental health, particularly in teenagers, post lockdown and strategies to face the new and old ways of the world.

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