The current COVID-19 crisis is having a major impact on teenagers, with many of them concerned about their education and mental health.
Youth organisation, Foróige, hosted a digital focus group with young people from all over the country aged between 16 and 18.
It found that mental health and general wellbeing are major issues, with many young people scared and confused about COVID-19 and the impact it is having on the world.
The loss of face-to-face contact with friends is having a negative impact on home life and many feel that anxiety and worry are taking over because they are not active at the moment.
They are missing their older relatives and are concerned about their loved ones staying safe. They are also concerned about the long-term impact of COVID-19. What will their future look like when the pandemic is over?
Not surprisingly, education was a major issue of concern for young people, with many struggling to keep up to date with class work and remain motivated without the support of teachers and their peers.
Many felt stressed and anxious as a result of the lack of clarity about exams.
Meanwhile, not everybody has access to technology, such as laptops, adding to fears that they will fall behind in school. Broadband issues in some rural areas mean that some young people cannot stay connected, while in some homes, multiple people are vying for time on computers, such as working parents and siblings.
According to Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige, these are "really uncertain times for young people".
"It's not unexpected, but still quite shocking, to hear the levels of anxiety and worry that young people are feeling in the current situation.
"It's clear that they are scared for their families, their futures and their mental health, but there is also much to feel positive about. They are using their time to learn new skills and support their families, while playing their part in the fight against COVID-19 by staying in," Mr Campbell noted.
For more information on Foróige, click here.
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