Mete Coban on Young people, Mental health and Covid-19


If you’re under 25 interested in politics and empowerment you may have come across Mete Coban. He is one of a growing number of young activists who are bringing politics to a new generation of concerned young people in new, engaging and innovative ways. Last week he and his fellow campaigners held their first international Question Time ‘My life, my say’ event, which attracted 1000’s across many nations. Respected by his peers, Coban has recently been appointed to the Global Fund for Children's welfare, based in New York. Today he is writing for OBV about the issues of mental health in ‘Lockdown’. Coban is also an alumni for ‘Pathway to success’, a senior BAME leadership programme held at Oxford uni - Blavatnik and Magdalene college, House of Commons and Lloyds bank. This year’s recruitment for Sept opens this week. As for Coban, he has a very bright future, and this is what young BAME political excellence looks like.  Simon Woolley


The quarantine and lockdown period has had a negative impact on young people's mental health, as youth employment is set to reach one million this year and school leavers are left unsure as to what the future holds. Growing levels of misinformation online have also caused anxiety for young people concerned about their futures, particularly as the UK faces a deep and long economic recession.

Yet during the coronavirus pandemic, young people have been on the frontline of supporting their families, caring for vulnerable people and volunteering for their communities and deserve to have a say on what happens to them.

The global pandemic exposes deep inequalities in our society and further amplifies them. According to research conducted by Resolution Foundation and Nuffield Foundation, the current economic crisis caused by the global pandemic could risk an additional 600,000 18 - 24-year-olds into unemployment, as well as causing long-term damage to their pay and job prospects.

Yet, even though the impacts are arguably more significant for this generation than any other, they have no voice at the table. Many 16/17-year-olds who have asked to have a question at the ongoing daily briefings are only rejected because they are below 18 years old.

That's why My Life My Say launched the Quarantine Question Time to provide expert advice to young people about the coronavirus and its impact on their lives. Since starting this initiative, we've engaged with thousands of young people from across the UK who are desperately crying out for their voices to be heard.

Through this initiative, we have found that the lockdown period has had a negative impact on young people's mental health, as a significant percentage of them have insecure jobs or are worst hit by the furlough scheme. 24% of young people are more worried about the economic crisis created by COVID-19 than anything else.

This is a generation who already feels robbed and cheated of their futures after experiencing the 2008 financial crisis, rising tuition fees, austerity, Brexit - and now the economic crisis that will follow the pandemic.

Leaders must learn from past mistakes and use this as an opportunity to reshape society to give hope to those who are often overlooked. This is their chance to engage with young leaders to build a society that works for all.

By Mete Coban