Covid teenagers tell of 'emotional rollercoaster' - study

Lockdown is an ‘emotional rollercoaster’ full of loss and uncertainty, say teenagers in a new video film about the pandemic.

Psychologists from Liverpool John Moores and The University of Manchester have been tracking teenagers’ emotional experiences since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

And they say the exercise has underlined how challenging it is to be 16-19, pandemic or not.

In a new short film, young people voice their opinions good and bad of their lives over the past year, as chronicled by the TELL Study. The video is released alongside a free online toolkit for education staff working to support teenagers during the pandemic.

Hundreds of stories

The research team led by Dr Ola Demkowicz (UoM) and Dr Emma Ashworth from LJMU asked young people to write about their experiences in their own words and received hundreds of contributions.  The team analysed these accounts to explore what lockdown has been like for this group, how it felt for them, and how they have managed to cope with it.

The film, which was made with drama students, captures quotes directly from the teenagers who took part in the study about how their lives have been impacted and how they have looked after themselves.

It also emphasises some positives and “silver linings” to come out of lockdown, where teenagers say that they have been able to enjoy time to themselves, and space to engage in their own hobbies and personal interests.

“The film highlights how difficult lockdown can be for teenagers, which may explain some of the rises in mental health issues that are being observed in wider research. The ‘positives of lockdown’ shown in the film also draw attention to how challenging normal life can be for teenagers,” said Dr Emma Ashworth, from the LJMU Faculty of Health.

Wellbeing help

The Supporting Teenagers Toolkit includes wider resources based on key issues identified in the study, as well as new resources including a lesson plan which explores students’ self-care and coping and guidance for supporting students working remotely. The toolkit is designed to be used by staff working with teenagers in secondary schools, colleges, and universities.

“Education staff are facing a range of new challenges in supporting students during the COVID-19 pandemic - we hope that this toolkit can provide useful information and resources to aid them in this process,” Emma added.


-For more information, contact or or go to the study’s website at You can also read about the study and it’s context in this article in The Conversation.


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