Heartbeat of Humanity: Mental Health of Young Adults During COVID-19

  • March 18, 2021
March 18, 2021

Ea Suzanne Akasha, technical advisor at the IFRC PS Centre, interviews professor Dr. Barbara Juen, technical manager of the psychosocial services at the Austrian Red Cross and scientific advisor to ENPS, and psychologist Vanessa Kulcar, about young adults’ mental health during COVID-19.

This podcast explores the challenges and concerns that young people are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though young people were not expected to be a vulnerable group at the beginning of the COVID crisis, research conducted by Juen and Kulcar, show that this age group is experiencing indirect impacts of the coronavirus, such as social and economic impacts, that greatly impacts their mental health and well-being.

According to Kulcar, young adults were experiencing higher levels of stress even before the pandemic, and the crisis has intensified feelings of loneliness, isolation and anxiety.

“In general, young people are in this developmental phase called ‘emerging adulthood,’ which is just between adolescence and adulthood. It is characterized by these profound changes where they are trying out different things, trying out different roles and thinking about where they want to go with their lives. If you think about it, this includes a lot of interaction with their environment. That’s difficult even without a pandemic, but with a pandemic, when everything is on hold, it is even more difficult.” –Kulcar.

A year into the pandemic, young adults have now become especially vulnerable to the mental health impact from COVID-19. According to Juen, young adults in all age specific studies experience highest stress levels and largest drop in mental health well-being. The podcast provided several explanations for this such as anxiety of job opportunity, lack of voice and recognition in society and intensified feels of loneliness.