Young People Hit Hardest By Loneliness And Depression During Covid-19

A syndemic refers to multiple interrelated epidemics happening at the same time. Covid-19 has unleashed and amplified a number of simultaneous personal, social, medical, political, and economic crises. This article is part three of a series of articles exploring the impact of the Covid-19 syndemic, read part one and part two.
Pop art Illustration of woman with head in her hands

Young people are more likely to suffer mental health problems during the pandemic than any age group according to the CDC.


Loneliness can be a risk factor in a range of health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and domestic abuse. All problems that are unsurprisingly increasing as we continue to remain isolated during the pandemic. However it would appear that one demographic is feeling the effects of isolation more than others. A CDC online survey indicates that young people between the ages of 18-24 are more likely to suffer mental health problems during the pandemic than any age group.

According to this survey, 63% of young people are suffering significant symptoms of anxiety or depression. Nearly a quarter of respondents reported that they had started or increased their abuse of substances, including alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs, to cope with their emotions. Their experiences during the pandemic put them at risk of developing Covid-19 related PTSD. This is a general problem developing throughout society but felt acutely by young adults. This data quantifies an alarming trend that we have seen emerge anecdotally, that the pandemic will have a long lasting impact on the mental health of young people.

One of the authors of the study, Mark Czeisler is hoping to conduct further research into why this particular demographic is so affected. He is currently looking into the extent in which people can tolerate uncertainty, or “the ability to accept the unknown, because now there are so many questions, especially for young people, about relative risk, duration of the pandemic and what their futures will look like.”

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.