The Donegal Youth Service is entering new territory as they respond to young people’s issues during the Covid-19 crisis.
The service has seen a rise in issues relating to isolation and uncertainty over coronavirus in recent weeks.
The upheaval of the covid-19 outbreak has sparked concerns over exams, college education, jobs, money and health among Donegal’s teenagers and young adults.
With youth clubs and offices closed, staff at DYS have been responding remotely to calls and messages for support.
Donegal Youth Service Regional Director Lorraine Thompson said: “This is a new territory for us all. The staff are there to do what they can to help all young people and we are offering them the opportunity to engage with staff via video conferencing or telephone.”
Ms Thompson said that school closures, job lay-offs and isolation have compounded problems for young people over the last month.
She said: “Our youth workers are hearing how young people aren’t getting any escape. They are at home all the time, some young people are in houses where parents have lost jobs and there are money and health worries to deal with. Family relationships can play a big part, where a young person might be in a confined space and share a bedroom with siblings. They can’t go see their friends, there is no normality and they don’t know when it is going to end.”
Service workers are also mindful of young people trapped in home environments with strained relationships and alcohol use.
Young people have also raised concerns with home schooling, Ms Thompson said. Some students ‘feel bombarded’ by teachers allocating work, while students at the other extreme can’t get motivated to get their work done.
“Our staff are also supporting young people who were working part-time in hospitality and where they have lost their jobs. Others are seeing their parents struggle with not having enough money to get by,” Ms Thompson explained.
Whatever the issue, young people are invited to reach out in confidence to the Donegal Youth Service on social media or on donegalyouthservice.ie, where they will be allocated to a youth worker accordingly. Call-backs can be requested too by anyone unable to afford a phone call.