Young people suffering hit to mental health during coronavirus crisis – poll

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
·2-min read

More than two-thirds of young people are suffering a deterioration in their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey suggests.

Some 69% of 18 to 24-year-olds say the virus crisis has had a negative impact on their mental health compared with just 28% of over-65s, according to the poll for Network Rail and charity Chasing the Stigma.

Symptoms have increased across all age groups, with many respondents reporting rises in anxiety (40%), loneliness (31%) and depression (31%).

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The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults was commissioned as part of Network Rail’s There is Always Hope campaign which encourages those struggling with their mental health to seek help before they reach crisis point.

People who need support are advised to download Chasing the Stigma’s Hub of Hope app.

Rail industry figures show there were 283 suicides or suspected suicides on Britain’s railways in the year ending March 31 2020, up 4% on the previous 12 months.

Network Rail believes this could have been “far higher” had it not been for 1,881 interventions in suicide attempts, mostly made by rail employees, police officers and members of the public.

The organisation’s chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We have a huge responsibility to keep people safe and support the wellbeing of both our staff and passengers.

“Through this campaign, we are trying to help vulnerable people who are at risk before they even come to the rail network by signposting them towards support services through the Hub of Hope.”