Pandemic takes toll on youth’s mental health

Many say online education not preparing them for desired careers

Pandemic takes toll on youth’s mental health
More than one-quarter of Canadian youth are taking classes exclusively online, finds a survey.

The COVID-19 virus is definitely taking a toll on younger people in Canada.

More than half (51 per cent) say the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health and 45 per cent say the pandemic has negatively impacted their optimism for the future.

Among workers, 47 per cent of those working full-time are doing so from home or at least part-time, finds an RBC survey. And more than half have faced severe job interruptions such as reduced hours and termination.

Employment losses in January were more than twice as large among youth aged 15 to 19 (74,000 or 9.3 per cent) than among those aged 20 to 24 (34,000 or 2.2 per cent), says Statistics Canada.

"The global COVID-19 pandemic has completely upended the lives of young people across our country. It's not surprising that they are feeling less confident when it comes to getting the jobs they aspire to," says Mark Beckles, vice-president of social impact and innovation at RBC.

Education lacking

Seven in 10 (70 per cent) young Canadians are learning remotely to some extent and 28 per cent are attending classes exclusively online, finds the RBC survey of 1,800 Canadians aged 14 to 29.

The result? Forty-five per cent say that the education they are receiving online is doing a worse job of preparing them for their desired career.

Nearly a third of young people globally feel their current education is not preparing them with the skills they need to get jobs, according to an earlier report from UNICEF.

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