COVID-19 had a major effect on the thousands of youths on the island, starving them of social interactions and physical movement, that are key to maintaining a healthy mindset.
So Aġenzija Żagħżagħ held a survey to calculate how exactly the pandemic affected the mental health of youths in Malta and they discovered that 13 to 18-year-olds were the most affected age group.
In fact, 74.2% of respondents in this age bracket said that they were negatively affected while only 56.4% of 19 to 25-year-olds shared that sentiment.
The survey was commissioned by Aġenzija Żagħzagħ to the faculty for Social Wellbeing with the aim to instigate social policy changes through informing the public. And it received responses from 418 participants, 51.4% of which identified as female, 48.33% as male, and 0.24% who identified themselves as other.
Meanwhile, females reported more of a negative impact on their mental health by the pandemic than males.
The survey asked six questions:
1. How has your education or training been affected due to COVID-19, the lockdowns, and other restrictions?
2. How has your job been affected due to COVID-19, the lockdowns, and other restrictions?
3. How has your physical health been affected due to COVID-19, the lockdowns, and other restrictions?
4. How has your mental/emotional health been affected by COVID-19, the lockdowns, and other restrictions?
5. How has your personal life (at home/with your family) been affected due to COVID-19, the lockdowns, and other restrictions?
6. Have you been vaccinated against COVID-19?
With the first five questions, respondents had four different options that ranged from very positive to very negative, and included an option of no difference noted.
Breaking it down a little further, 38.6% of female participants admitted that their physical health was more negatively impacted and only 31.7% of all respondents said that the pandemic had no effect on their mental health.
“I believe that we are not taking the post-Covid impact seriously enough. In a number of other pieces of research the Faculty is involved in, even when the pandemic is not at the centre of the research, the fall-out of this phenomenon often surfaces,” project manager and author of the survey, Andrew Azzopardi told Lovin Malta.
“We also have an indication that seems to lead towards young people being impacted on a long-term level even more than older age groups. Our focus as a country seems to have stopped with tackling the economic impact, maybe looking at other social, emotional and personal issues needs to be taken more seriously.”
“I am particularly indebted to Research Support Officer Annabel Cuff and Jeremy Caruso who worked on this project,” he concluded.
The full survey findings can be accessed here.
Do you think more focus should be put on post-pandemic mental health recovery?