A survey to understand how youngsters navigated the pandemic

Among the activities carried out by Melting Pro for the project, a survey was developed to ask young people about their life skill, a set of personal and social attributes and capacities that is key to thriving in life. The survey wanted to research how the Covid-19 pandemic affected them and the role of creative practices for their development.

The main goal of the questionnaire was to identify the needs that young community members from different countries have in term of life skills and the role of arts and creativity in their lives in order to find the best way to boost their creative resilience. A total of 141 people from Greece, Italy and Portugal answered the online survey: most of them were youngsters between 18 and 30 years old (81,75%), with a high component of female respondents (69%).

Asked to think about life through the pandemic, respondents agreed that special efforts needed to be taken in relation to wellbeing. Statements as the following received a high percentage of agreement.

  • I felt like I needed to take special care of my mental health (30,00%) and
  • I am more aware of the importance of taking care of my family members mental health (29,29%).

Combined with another recurrent statement:

  • One of the hardest things has been to face uncertainty and constantly reviewing and changing plans (25,71%),

it clearly shows that young people’s mental and social health has become more fragile due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If, in the last two years, youngsters have learned the importance of taking care of theirs and their families’ mental health, a learning that they are still struggling with is motivation, chosen by more than 40% of respondents as the personal trait more affected by living in a time of health crisis. This data, together with the score of the communication and openness skills, marked by more than a quarter of the sample as abilities they are struggling with, shows how 2 years of pandemic and social restrictions for preventive measures had youngsters develop fragility and insecurity when it comes to communicating with other people.

Overall, the level of uncertainty caused by the global health crisis affected youngsters’ responses to regulate emotions, thoughts and behaviors, but it is also worth noting that a high percentage of young people (77,86%) still felt able to set new goals for their personal and professional life in this always changing context.

More in general, self-care and flexibility were chosen by the respondents as main skills and personal attitudes developed by living through the pandemic, as well as empathy and critical thinking. To cope with uncertainty and difficulties, young people have mostly used cultural and creative activities: in fact, 56,74% of the respondents has declared them as the preferred way to take care of their wellbeing and mental health. By doing a creative or cultural activity, most of youngsters claimed to feel more relaxed, happy, focused and self-fulfilled and this is the reason why Come2Art, also relying on the evidence of these data, aims at promoting and supporting a collaboration between artists and young community members. The goal is to help them develop spaces and experiences where creativity can make them unfold the necessary skills to withstand the impact of unforeseen events and changes.

Francesca Lanzoni, Melting Pro