Thanks to young people speaking to Healthwatch North and West Northamptonshire and letting their voices be heard, Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire have a better understanding of young people’s views and experiences of health and social care services over the last year.
The group of 11-24 year old volunteers made sure that healthcare services in Northamptonshire hear the voice of other young people to influence better health and wellbeing and improve the quality of services. They have now published a report showing their findings to decision makers to make improvements in services.
Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire continued to meet online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Having worked on various projects in the past about the emotional wellbeing of young people they decided to look at the impact of the pandemic and lockdown through a survey for young people in Northamptonshire.
“We conducted this survey as we wanted to highlight the views of young people related to the pandemic. Young people aged 11-19 are all at different points of their childhood and we wanted to see how each age group and education setting were affected. Emotional wellbeing is a huge part of Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire’s core values, these survey questions were what we felt would summarise young people’s experiences and would give us an indication of goals and recommendations for local providers to work towards locally.”Young Healthwatch Volunteer
Young Healthwatch launched an online survey during January to March 2021 when schools were closed to most pupils. 1,173 young people between the ages of 11 and 19 responded to the survey.
- More than half (53%) of young people told Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire that their emotional wellbeing or mental health got a bit worse (34%) or got much worse (20%) during the lockdowns. 28% young people told them that their mental health stayed the same and 13% told them their mental health got a bit better (6%) or much better (7%).
- Nearly half (48%) of all young people who identified as non-binary or another gender other than male or female said that during COVID-19 their emotional wellbeing had got much worse and a further eleven people (26%) said it had got a bit worse – 74% in total (31 of 42). This is significantly higher than the 37% of males and slightly higher than the 61% of females. The older respondents also appeared to experience worse emotional wellbeing or mental health during lockdown, with 72% of 17 to 19 year olds saying it had gotten much worse (35%) or a bit worse (36%).
- 44% said that their emotional wellbeing or mental health improved when they returned to education in person. 29% said that it did not improve and a similar proportion (28%) said they were unsure.
- 53% said it was easy or very easy to find out up to date information about COVID-19. Only 6% said that it was hard or very hard. Over half the young people (59%) got up to date information on COVID-19 from the news on TV and/or their parents. Slightly under half (44%) got information from social media.
- Over half of young people (58%) live in a household where an adult is a key worker.