What challenges have young people who face inequalities experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown?

What challenges have young people who face inequalities experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown?

We worked with three members of the Health and Wellbeing Alliance: Carers Partnership, Friends Families and Travellers and the National LGB&T Partnership.  Each member identified local organisations in their networks who would be able to engage with this project.  In conversations with a range of local organisations we identified three local partners:  Free2B Alliance, a LGBTQ+ youth service, Richmond Carers Centre, supporting young carers and York Travellers Trust, supporting Gypsy, Traveller and Romany families and young people.  We also worked with RCPCH & Us who supported the engagement of the local organisations.

KEY MESSAGES FROM YOUNG PEOPLE

  • Accessing health services: Young people want to understand pathways to health services so they can take agency of their own health
  • A range of ways to engage: Digital engagement is a good way of reaching young people but ensure you have the option for communicating via telephone, posters/flyers etc.
  • Clear communication particularly for young people affected by shielding: Young people shielding, or living and caring for loved ones who are shielding will have an heightened anxiety to Covid-19
  • Importance of social support: Online social support such as youth groups and school clubs were incredibly helpful
  • Being at home has a very different impact depending on your circumstances: Young people spending more time at home and with family can be a protective factor for them or can be extremely challenging.
  • Understanding how broader social determinants and stigma affect young people: The effects of Covid-19 on some young people who face inequalities go beyond physical health concerns. Additional challenges are likely to be economic and work, housing and safety at home and social wellbeing and mental health.

Key messages from the young people about their experiences in lockdown were shared in a webinar in late October 2020 to policy leads, NHS England and PHE staff and healthcare professionals. The final report is downloadable here.