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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.8 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 5 March 2024
Novel challenges due to COVID-19

A survey by the National Youth Council revealed that youth workers perceive negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people in terms of social contacts, mental health and work/education. Young people are longing for normality and social contacts, but at the same time they are becoming more withdrawn. Thus, the COVID-19 crisis has raised new challenges for youth policies - mental health and others - that need to be addressed. In line with an emerging public debate, the nationwide network Open Youth Work (bOJA) published a position paper in February (Positionspapier von bOJA Feb '21: 1 Jahr Corona Krise - Potentiale der Offenen Jugendarbeit in der Pandemie) calling for greater consideration of young people's concerns in the pandemic response. The ongoing pandemic and its ongoing restrictions on contact have had a severe impact on young people's mental health. Increases in depression, withdrawal and anxiety have been reported among young people. In times of crisis, young people need external social contacts more than ever - be it peer interaction, stable and lasting relationships with adults, or the opportunity to participate in youth work. Moreover, as sport often involves social contact, sports clubs, facilities and groups have been closed during the pandemic, limiting the carefully built sports environment for young people. Sports associations have therefore repeatedly drawn attention to the importance of sport for children and young people (Breitensport: Vereine drängen auf Öffnung).