The comprehensive effects of Covid-19 have yet to be realized.
Of course, we all anticipate the effects on our health, the long-term illnesses and how it will impact our economy. But in developing an approach to handle these effects, we need to start looking at how it will affect each subset. Let’s consider young adults. We often overlook this group because their youthfulness serves as an added bonus of protection. Unfortunately, in this instance in terms of the economic impact COVID-19 will have, young adults are experiencing the brunt of the economic impact.
Certainly, a devastating effect of the pandemic has been the joblessness our youth has suffered. This spring, young adults aged 16-24 had an unemployment rate of 25.3%, which is greater than twice that of workers 35 and older.
The high unemployment rate is due to the retail and hospitality industries – in which almost half of young adults work – being hit the hardest. On top of it all, many of our youth aren’t eligible to receive unemployment insurance.
The fallout from our young adults’ unemployment is expansive.
Studies show that 52% of those aged 18 to 29 have been forced to move back into their parents’ or even their grandparents’ homes. That’s the worst since the Great Depression! Another repercussion of unemployment is many college students have been forced to drop out of college, thereby damaging their future economic survival.
Another problem is the huge increase in mental health problems. An August 2020 CDC report says the pandemic has caused nearly 75% of young adults aged 18-24 to report at least one mental or behavioral health symptom and 51.9% among those aged 25-44 have done so.
Those symptoms include ones of anxiety or depressive disorders and COVID-19-related TSRD or trauma- and stress-related disorder. Unfortunately, those symptoms can lead to initiating or increasing substance abuse and the worst, thinking about committing suicide.
While overall the percentage of Americans who have considered suicide was 10.7%, among 18- to 24-year-olds the percentage who have seriously viewed suicide as an option is a terrifying 25.5%!
The Pandemic’s Effects on Our Young Adults & Possible Solutions
Our county government needs to help young adults navigate the pandemic and emerge financially and personally well.
My decades-long work as a family lawyer and community activist has given me the skills necessary to spearhead these solutions as soon as possible: 1) work with the districts to emphasize more skilled careers, 2) create and implement health communication strategies and 3) develop a program that identifies COVID-19-related TSRD symptoms early to prevent progression from acute to chronic TSRDs.
Please join me in making our community one that supports our young adults during this unprecedented time. I am a candidate for Denton County Commissioner 3 who wants to make Denton County safer and healthier for all families. Learn more about me at www.votedelia.org.
Delia Parker-Mims is an SMU attorney trained in economics. She has spent the last 25 years representing battered women, advocating for mentally-ill juveniles, and assisting seniors. Delia’s broad experience, combined with her passion for empowering the community, will make her an excellent County Commissioner.