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Mental health of youth during COVID-19

Infographic showing highlights of poll results from 182 youth respondents in Papua New Guinea. 

Port Moresby28 October 2020 - A recent U-Report poll among youth in Papua New Guinea showed mainly feeling anxious (25%), worried about myself (22%) and depressed (19%). The economic situation (44%) and relationship with family (29%) is what mostly influences these feelings and worryingly 47% did not feel the need to ask for help in relation to their mental and physical wellbeing.

182 U-Reporters participated in the survey that explored how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis was affecting young people’s health and wellbeing. More positively, 38 per cent of youth respondents said that compared to before COVID-19, they are sleeping more and 42% are more optimistic about the future then before COVID-19.

Carried out across 17 provinces in Papua New Guinea through Facebook messenger, the poll indicates that 53 per cent of youth respondents sought help and support from friends (27%) and family (26%) to manage their emotions, while 17% did not ask for help.

“I seek help from schools’ counselling services”, a U-Reporter shares his formula to coping with the pandemic. “I stop listening to people spreading news about COVID-19 without concrete evidence and reliable sources”.

Another U-Reporter said, “Staying home, wearing masks and keeping away from crowds, also reading the bible helps me motivated that COVID-19 will pass”.

The survey on mental health during COVID-19 was administered through U-Report, a free and confidential mobile empowerment platform from UNICEF, the poll shines a light on the knowledge, thoughts and feelings of young people around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Being positive”, a U-Reporter shares the formulas he used to take care of his mental health. “Try your best to remain positive. Learning new hobbies during the lockdown. Completing projects or small tasks at home that I didn’t have the time to continue”.

The COVID-19 Helpline (1800 200) and the 1 Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain (7150-8000) have also been disseminated during the poll to provide adolescents and young people access to support as well as information regarding mental health and psychosocial support.

See by the numbers how we are engaging youth voices for positive social change.