CIE0032

Written evidence submitted by Allerdale and Copeland Youth Council

 

Allerdale and Copeland Youth Council Survey to find out issues arising for young people during COVID-19

 

West Cumbria (Allerdale & Copeland) Youth Council put together a survey for 11-18 year olds to find out how they were coping with social distancing and issues relating to Covid-19. The survey received a total of 1,450 valid responses. Please note that 32 responses had to be rejected as they did not meet the survey requirements of being 11-18 years old and living in Cumbria, and they declared so during the survey.

 

Please note that while discussing the earlier questions I may refer to related replies submitted in the final question, which was open-ended.

 

Q1)

Forms response chart. Question title: Which area of Cumbria do you live in? A map is attached in case you are unsure of this.. Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

        Although we received responses from all areas of Cumbria, it is worth noting that we received 83.0% of our responses from our own areas of Allerdale and Copeland

 

Q2)

 

Forms response chart. Question title: Are you at home with parents/guardians or mostly alone as they are key workers?. Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

        It should be regarded as positive news in most cases that 89.2% of young people are isolated with family, and a very small percentage of 3.5% being mostly alone

        However, 7.3% are isolated with siblings are often responsible for younger siblings, which was an issue reported later in the survey as they had less time available to complete schoolwork in time

        There were also reports that being with family increased stress levels as it encourages arguments as well as giving them less personal space and time alone, which is having a negative impact on their mental health

 

Q3)

 

Forms response chart. Question title: How has your internet connection been during isolation?. Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

 

        43.7% of young people do not have a reliable access to the internet, with roughly 40% of these people saying that their internet connection has been notably worse during the pandemic

        This is especially an issue as schoolwork is currently being sent and collected online, therefore many are struggling to access or submit the necessary work especially in time for deadlines

        Cumbria has also seen widespread issues with their internet connection, such as the internet going down completely in certain areas of West Cumbria on 6-7th April which was mentioned by some respondents mentioning this event specifically

 

Q4)

Forms response chart. Question title: Have you been having work sent to you via Google Classroom etc.?. Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

        The responses to this question seem to suggest that there is quite an inconsistent approach to schooling across Cumbria and a variation in how well it is received

        Out of those who are receiving schoolwork, 35.4% of these people reported issues. Some referred to issues with their internet connection as previously mentioned, however, the biggest issue was the size of the workload and this was repeatedly mentioned later in the survey

        Interestingly, out of those who are not receiving work 70.6% of these people claim that they are still in education. If true, this leaves the question of why so many students are not being taught and whether this simply relates to the type of course they are on eg. if they are at college something practical, or if there are wider issues

 

Q5)

 

Forms response chart. Question title: Tick all of the following activities have you partaken in to entertain yourself during isolation. . Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

 

        The most popular three activities during the pandemic amongst young people are listed here:

                            1 - Schoolwork

                            2 - Socialising online

                            3 - TV/streaming

            These activities are mostly technology-based although we recognise the     

            psychological benefits of socialising online, and the fact that exercise-based activities  

            are close behind in popularity indicates that there is not an unhealthy trend to be

            concerned about. However, schoolwork ranking so highly on the list could be a

            concern as students report receiving a higher workload than they usually do which

            can be unmanageable

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q6)

 

Forms response chart. Question title: Truthfully, have you been following government guidelines?. Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

        It is a reassuring trend that most people claim to have been following social distancing guidelines, and nobody reported having a complete disregard for the rules

        However, later responses said that they had witnessed younger children being allowed to play out in their communities

        Some of those who visited family were unsure as to whether they had broken the rules or not as there seems to be confusion over the guidelines for children of split parents, and reported that they would like more clarity

 

Q7)

 

Forms response chart. Question title: Looking at the image attached, please rate your mental health on an average day during isolation. Please remember that your response is anonymous.. Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

 

 

 

        Mild cases = 64%

Moderate cases = 27%

Severe cases = 9%

        Over half of the people reported having only mild issues with their mental health, but 64% is still lower than would be expected in normal circumstances

        The most popular option was 2 with 400 choosing this, but there were still hundreds of people reporting that they were in the moderate to severe range and the survey was sent out relatively early in the lockdown so it is concerning to see such extremes being met within weeks

 

Q8) Forms response chart. Question title: Would you say that the pandemic has worsened or improved your mental state? If it has had no effect, please select 3.. Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

 

 

        The majority of respondents, 44.4% overall, reported that the pandemic had had a negative effect on their mental state (this was indicated by answers 1 and 2), this was largely due to issues such as loneliness caused by social distancing rather than concerns about the coronavirus itself

        There was a rather small percentage of people, 14.1% overall, that have seen a positive impact of their mental health due to a decrease in stress and more time to themselves

 

Q9)

 

Forms response chart. Question title: (OPTIONAL) If you struggle with your mental health, have you been able to access support during isolation?. Number of responses: 626 responses.

 

 

        It is concerning that only 30.9% of people struggling with their mental health have accessed external support, with most having to rely on implementing their own strategies

        It is also worth noting that out of those who have managed to access support, a higher percentage found support through other organisations and charities rather than the NHS or CAMHS

 

Q10)

 

Forms response chart. Question title: Would you feel able to identify the symptoms of coronavirus in yourself/loved ones?. Number of responses: 1,450 responses.

        The majority of young people felt confident that they would be able to recognise the symptoms of coronavirus and in the final question seemed to be aware of the main symptoms such as having a dry cough or fever

 

 

 

Open-ended question

 

This final question was open-ended to allow young people to raise other concerns if they wished to do so. As you can understand, we received hundreds of responses to this question, therefore, we have condensed the replies into those which were repeatedly mentioned as well as some others that we felt were worth mentioning.

 

        School - the most common reply we received stated that the workload being given by schools was higher than usual and it was hard to cope with, especially with special circumstances due to the pandemic such as having to look after younger siblings or other problems in their home life which they felt their teachers would not understand. This was alongside technological issues such as having no access to a printer when needed for work. There were also concerns of students with ADHD who struggled to focus by themselves, and some who struggled to teach themselves the content and saying that video lessons would be better. There is also still some uncertainty among students about what is happening with GCSEs and A-levels, which seems to not have been communicated properly

 

        Work - some older respondents are working during the pandemic, many at supermarkets etc. and they have reported issues ranging from a lack of respect from customers, unsure about how many hours they should be working as well as struggling to balance work with a higher workload for school. Some children helping their parents with small businesses face similar problems. Also, Cumbria is a largely rural area and thus has quite a few farming families, with no guidance as to whether children are allowed to go to work to help their parents on the farm

 

        Mental health issues - many people reported that being away from distractions was worsening their mental illness, as well as those with anxiety disorders being especially concerned about the health of their family. Some young people did not report having issues themselves but had friends who were struggling to cope and felt unable to properly support them when they opened up.

 

        Breaking guidelines - multiple people reported being able to see younger children leaving their house to play together on a regular basis with no intervention from their family, which obviously poses a risk as children are often asymptomatic carriers

 

        Split parents - some families seem to be unsure on what the guidelines are for children of split parents and whether they have to stay in one household for the duration of the lockdown, more clarity would be helpful

 

 

 

April 2020