Youth Survey Reports Poor Mental Health, Lack of Government Support And Covid Uncertainty Among Students In Ireland

Youth Radio Station SPIN surveyed over 1,000 students to explore hopes and fears at this time

 

A survey conducted by Youth Radio Station, SPIN and Media Central has found that Leaving Cert and College students are nervous about returning to education next month with many uncertainties around what college life looks like in the time of COVID.

The online survey, which had over 1,000 respondents (413 Leaving Cert students* / 714 College or University students) was carried out to gauge the effect the pandemic has had on this demographic, particularly when it comes to their education, uncertainty around their future, and the mental health impacts COVID-19 is having.

Both groups cited the negative impact COVID 19 has had on their mental health (over 50% in each category) while Government support, or lack thereof was a major concern with 64% of Leaving Cert students and 79% of college students answering ‘no’ when asked if the Government / Department of Education (64% LC students / 79% college students) is doing enough to help them.

Commenting on the survey findings, Keith McCormack, Music & Entertainment CEO said: “Covid-19 has turned the world upside down and its immediate effects are rightly getting our attention and focus. It is also important to understand the short to medium term effects this pandemic is having on society, and in particular the youth sector.  SPIN has a remit, not only to entertain youth audiences but also to act as a trusted voice, by providing a platform that recognises and discusses the challenging times that many young people find themselves in at the moment”.

 

LEAVING CERT STUDENTS (*due to sit their Leaving Cert exams in 2020)

  • As expected, 55% of them have expressed concern about their exam results
    • Unfair results, teacher bias and delays were concerns expressed repeatedly
  •  97% of all students still hoping to continue their education
  • Students are more concerned than excited about going to university
    • Only 21% of students have expressed any level of excitement around going to college with reasons including ‘a new experience or fresh start’, ‘studying something I enjoy’ and ‘moving out of home’
  • Students feel COVID-19 has had a negative effect on their mental health
    • 54% said that COVID-19 has had a negative impact
  • Students feel the government/dept of education could have done more
    • 64% of respondents say the Government/Dept of Education has done little or nothing to support them
  • 17% of students are reconsidering their college choice on the back of COVID-19
  • 87% of respondents have said that very few or no brands are supporting them

 

COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

Third level students surveyed are expecting college life to be very different when they return, particularly around increased remote / online-based learning, less time spent on campus and reduced access to teachers and lecturers.

Respondents also expect their social life to be negatively impacted with less opportunities to make friends, enjoy extracurricular activities and socialise.

  • Some students are concerned about returning to university/college
    • 42% of students have indicated levels of concern
  • 58% expressed that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health
  • College and University Students clearly do not feel the Government is doing enough to support them with 79% of respondents saying the Government has done very little or nothing to support them
  • 59% found the process of studying for and sitting exams online challenging
  • 88% of respondents have said that very few or no brands are supporting them
  • Exercising, talking or socialising with family and friends, meditating, comfort eating, and reading were all cited as ways to relieve stress.

 

During COVID-19, SPIN launched a Youth Mental Health series with SpunOut.ie, Ireland’s Youth Information website to provide useful advice and support for young people when it comes to minding your mental health.

SPIN is Ireland’s Leading and Largest Youth Radio Station.