“Working with young people means that the academic year tends to be more influential than the calendar year, and therefore September is normally a time for new starts and new beginnings. 2020 is no different, in fact embracing new changes is even more prevalent. As schools and colleges re-open this year, things are very different in so many ways. For the majority of young people they have been out of the institutionalisation of school for nearly 6 months.
Research on the effects of COVID-19 prevention measures are varied. The Children’s Society reported that young people are “less happy” whilst the University of Bristol found that anxiety levels in young people had fallen over this period.
The reality is, of course, is that everyone is different. Each person’s experience of life before, during and (now) after lockdown is unique, and attempts to generalise will always be fraught with danger.
Yes, there are some young people who have found this time extremely difficult: Social isolation from friends, the lack of structure, being at home with family, fears about academic progress, even the illness or death of a loved one will all take their toll. But equally there are others for whom the freedom from the pressures and constraints of school has been liberating; space and time to reflect, a slower pace of life, less peer pressure and a more relaxed way of ‘going to school’ as well as more independence will have reduced stress and tensions.
Talking to young people we are hearing both of these stories, and we witness first hand those who we thought quite resilient suddenly develop mental health issues, whilst others have surprised us with how they’ve coped and even flourished. The same can be said for their parents and whole families.
Everyone is different. Everyone is unique. Each deserves to be heard and to be given the opportunities to express and explore their potential.
Since March we have walked with hundreds of individuals as they’ve done this – adapting our processes and services to best enable this to happen. As schools reopen and life shifts again, we are continuing to develop, innovate and change what we do, but always so that every person who knocks on The Door gets welcomed in for who they are.”
Barrie Voyce (Business Development Director)
For more information about the support currently available from The Door visit thedoor.org.uk/support or to be part of this journey as a volunteer find out more about getting involved at thedoor.org.uk/volunteer
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