Global issues and their impact on young people

Two young people sit on a bench in a park. The person on the right has his arm around the other young person. The young person on the left is holding the other persons arm while looking down at the floor.

Rising anxiety in an increasingly uncertain world

Thanks to globalisation and the rise of social media, we're more engaged than ever with what's going on around the world. But this has had a knock-on impact to young people's mental health. Many are now extremely concerned about the state of the world they're growing up in, with some expressing a lack of hope for the future.

Not only that, but a lack of action from those at the top on issues like climate change only serves to fuel the anxiety they're already feeling.

Climate crisis and conflict

Eco-anxiety is growing among young people. Researchers at the University of Bath found that climate change and inadequate governmental responses are linked with climate anxiety and distress in children and young people globally. The level of distress young people feel over climate change is a threat to their health and wellbeing. It also makes them trust the Government even less due to a perceived lack of action on environmental issues.

The climate crisis will impact young people for a significant proportion of their lives and they don't think the Government is doing enough to protect the planet.

A young man stands in the centre of a group of friends with his eyes and head down.

87% of young people worry about climate change.

82% of young people worry about big political issues such as war and conflict.

I feel like once I’m old enough and can afford to travel, there won’t be much left to see (coral, marine life, wildlife etc.). The Government doesn’t care about the people or the future.
Whenever I heard the words ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’, I assumed that scientists and governments would take care of everything. But now I’m not so sure.

Covid-19

Two young people sitting together on a bench. One has their arm around the other.

In late 2021, the impact of Covid-19 was also weighing on young people’s minds.

The negative impact of the pandemic on young people has reduced over time, with a drop of 21% in the number of respondents reporting it as a factor impacting them in 2022 compared to 2021.

But it's important to recognise that many young people are still affected and will continue to be affected by their experiences during the pandemic. The demand for mental health services remains high.

  • Personal impacts

    We found that 66% of young people were always or often worried about the impact of Covid-19 on them personally, with Covid-19 being the tenth most mentioned issue in our survey.

  • Impacts on education

    NHS Digital research published in November 2022 confirmed that young people aged 11-16 are still worried about the effects of Covid-19 on their future exam results and schoolwork.

  • Impacts on physically Disabled young people

    When we spoke to physically Disabled young people, they also reported feeling anxious about catching the virus.

Real stories from young people

The lasting impacts of the pandemic are still affecting young people like you today, and we need better mental health services to cope with the increase in demand.

Hear from other young people about their experiences of the impacts of Covid-19 on their mental health.

 

wide shot of three boys sitting on a bench looking over the lake in the park

Hope for a safer future

It’s crucial that the impact of issues like climate change, war and global health on young people are taken into account. Young people are the ones who will live with the consequences of our inaction in the decades to come, and they’ve told us they feel unsafe and afraid. It’s time we support them to have the future they deserve.

Information and advice for young people

If you're a young person affected by any of the issues mentioned here, know that you are not alone. For help and support, take a look at our information and advice guides.