KECC (Kent Equality Cohesion Council) has published a report around the impact on mental health in diverse young people since the onset of the pandemic. Working with local schools, youth groups and grass root organisations, the report was compiled with the use of surveys which were circulated amongst local young people and roundtable discussions which looked into the issues affecting young people over the various lockdowns and subsequently in a post lockdown society.

The research was funded through the Live Well Fund for Kent and Medway and was delivered in partnership with Rethink Sahayak, Cohesion Plus and North Kent Caribbean Network.

Key themes that emerged included the negative impact that the pandemic had on young people, many felt really anxious and some still feel uncomfortable in social situations. There was also still a lack of awareness of services and support available locally. Recommendations included the need for more targeted interventions with young people in non-educational settings including sports clubs and arts settings. It was also felt that more could be done to highlight the link between physical activity and mental health wellbeing.

Gurvinder Sandher, CEO of the KECC commented, “In a society which has been so impacted by the pandemic, we were keen to understand the effect locally. The young people who participated in the research really opened up about the challenges, some of them knew friends and family members who had been severely impacted with some participants knowing friends who had sadly taken their own lives. We will be sharing the report and its findings widely and hope it can contribute to the debate around mental health and well-being as we try to get back to pre-pandemic normality.