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Statistics Netherlands: lockdowns were hard on young people

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Statistics Netherlands reports that one out of every four young adults was ‘mentally unhealthy’ at the beginning of 2021. Young people felt sad, gloomy and agitated.

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We've all seen plenty of anecdotal evidence, but now Statistics Netherlands (CBS in the Dutch acronym) confirms that the pandemic has been particularly tough for young adults aged 18 to 25.

Every year, CBS measures this group's mental health by using a survey about sadness, anxiety, serenity and happiness. This time around, approximately ten thousand people completed the survey.

In the beginning of 2020, right before the first lockdown, approximately 12 to 15 percent of young people indicated that they were feeling down. One year later, this number was approximately ten percent higher. The difference is smaller in other age groups.

hop1.png© HOP. Source: CBS.

Statistics Netherlands does not distinguish participants based on educational level, so university students are included in the figures.

The findings support the stories circulating about young people weighed down by the crisis. It also aligns with studies by other institutes, including Radboud University Nijmegen. The university, located in the east of the Netherlands, concluded in June that over 50 percent of its students felt more depressed than a year prior. One in ten even feels "a lot worse".

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Students’ psychological issues top the list of reasons to open up higher education right at the start of the academic year, against the advice issued by the Outbreak Management Team. Perhaps surprisingly in this context, universities reported in a press release earlier this week that only a limited number of students are currently behind in their studies.

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