Kaksi henkilö syö lounasta laiturilla talvisessa maisemassa.
Beyond circumstances of the crisis itself, respondents said they were burdened by negative feelings surrounding uncertainty about the future, work related issues, their health as well as financial and livelihood concerns. File photo of two people at the seashore.

Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

More than a year has passed since coronavirus started wreaking havoc with daily life in Finland and the situation has particularly affected the wellbeing of young adults, according to a new survey from the Mental Health Finland association.

In particular, respondents aged 18-34 said the crisis had caused feelings of strain and exhaustion.

The survey found that the epidemic and related restrictions had burdened residents of all ages.

However, feelings of social isolation were particularly common among young adults under the age of 25, with more than 40 percent of that group saying isolation had negatively affected their wellbeing.

Conversely, respondents over the age of 65 were least likely to say they were burdened by feelings of isolation.

One aspect about the pandemic most respondents had similar feelings about — regardless of age — was a fear of contracting the virus. But only about one third of all respondents said that fears about falling ill had impaired their emotional health.

Beyond circumstances of the crisis itself, respondents said they had negative feelings of uncertainty about the future, work related issues, their health as well as financial and livelihood concerns.

Women were more likely to feel burdened by the crisis than men. Female respondents said they worried about the crisis and their families significantly more than their male counterparts.

Changing attitudes

Nearly two thirds of younger respondents also said they had experienced mental health issues in themselves or within their immediate circle of friends. That proportion was exactly the same as in a similar survey carried out by the association four years ago, according to the group.

The most common psychological problems those respondents cited was exhaustion (46%) or depression (40%). As many as three quarters (75%) of respondents under the age of 25 said they had experienced exhaustion themselves or in someone close to them.

Anxiety was also common among younger adults, with two thirds of people under the age of 35 saying they or someone they knew had dealt with symptoms of anxiety.

The mental health advocates said that results of this survey were similar to a previous survey it carried out, in that young adults are increasingly feeling burdened in general.

However, a clear change from the survey four years ago was improved overall attitudes toward mental health.

In 2016, just under half of respondents said that attitudes about mental health had improved in recent times. In this year’s survey, 59 percent shared such sentiments. Meanwhile around 66 percent of women noted a positive change in attitudes about mental health issues.

Commissioned by Mental Health Finland, the survey was conducted by polling firm IROResearch and queried about 1,000 people on 16-24 February 2021. The statistical margin of error did not exceed 3.2 percentage points in either direction.

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