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Mental strain of pandemic hits under-25s more than most

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Youths wearing protective face masks use bicycles as they practice parkour, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the holy month of Ramadan in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq May 3, 2020. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani

Youths wearing protective face masks use bicycles as they practice parkour, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the holy month of Ramadan in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq May 3, 2020. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani

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Youths wearing protective face masks use bicycles as they practice parkour, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the holy month of Ramadan in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq May 3, 2020. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani

Younger people are feeling more anxious during the coronavirus outbreak, a new study shows.

Despite older people being more vulnerable to the virus, the situation is hitting the mental health of the under-25s.

Almost one-third of under-25s are experiencing high anxiety levels during the pandemic.

An NUIG-DCU study has revealed 29.1pc of those under 25 stated they are experiencing "much more" anxiety during Covid-19.

However, 7.3pc of the over-65s surveyed are feeling "less anxious" and even "more content", and 41.1pc in this age group stated they feel "more or less the same as before the outbreak".

Dr Akke Vellinga, epidemiologist and senior lecturer at the NUIG School of Medicine, told the Irish Independent: "The impact of the pandemic on well-being and mental health would appear to be greater for younger compared to older people.

"This may be explained by the fact that younger people are likely to have experienced a much greater change in day-to-day living than those in the older population."

The Corona Citizens' Science Project is a national anonymous online survey conducted to understand how people are dealing with the pandemic and how it has impacted their lives.

While much of the Government advice has been targeted at protecting older people from the virus, the research seems to indicate social distancing restrictions may be impacting the mental health of the younger population.

Dr Vellinga said: "We asked a question about being anxious or being more anxious and some older people are saying they are more content than they ever were.

"Younger people seem to find this time more difficult than older people for mental health and well-being.

"Older people seem to be much more the same as they were.

"They have adapted to the situation.

"The under-25s are much more anxious, the older age groups are much more stable.

"Younger people said they just want to get back to work, to do something and be active."

A Central Statistics Office (CSO) social impact of Covid-19 study has also reported that 26.6pc of respondents were feeling lonely last month during the crisis.

The survey found households with children are most likely to be hit financially due to the pandemic, with 23pc reporting major or moderate negative financial impact.

Men and women reported an increase in drinking alcohol during lockdown. Some 23.4pc of men said they were drinking more, while 20.9pc of women had increased alcohol intake.

More than half (53.4pc) of women reported snacking more on fast food compared to 35.6pc of men.

Three in 10 smokers (30.5pc) said they had increased smoking since lockdown.

Irish Independent