‘I felt depressed and didn’t see anyone for four weeks’ – Generation Z ‘loneliest’ age group during lockdown
Phil Caso, 23, tells Sky News he did not physically see anyone for four weeks during lockdown, which has been “quite tough”.
Generation Z has been the loneliest age group during the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly three-quarters of people aged up to 25 admitting to feeling lonely since April, according to exclusive data.
The study, by Kaspersky with an independent research group, involved 10,500 people across 12 European countries, and Japan, and was part of Loneliness Awareness Week.
It found that 68% of people in this age demographic felt lonely during the lockdown, compared to just 37% of the Silent Generation – those aged 75 and over.
It claims that while older generations are often prioritised by governments and communities to ensure they are not left isolated, younger people and those of working age could be missing out on the support they need.
Phil Caso, 23, from Peterborough, runs his own dog grooming business, Green Wheel Dogs.
He has exclusively told Sky News that he went without physically seeing anyone for four weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, which made him feel “depressed”.
Here is his story.
I come from a large Italian family, and some relatives do live close by, so I have found not being able to physically see them for weeks during the lockdown quite tough actually.
The first couple of weeks felt like a nice break, I had more time to do the things I wanted to do, and I probably spoke to my friends more than I did before, as I was talking to them pretty much every week.
We were doing quizzes on things like Zoom, and Netflix Party came out as well, which has been great, so even just watching movies, you can do that with people. So there has been lots of substitutes, but then I soon began to feel very lonely and even depressed at times. I didn’t see anyone for four weeks.
I couldn’t work, as I was forced to close my business, which I only had up and running for a couple of months, so I had no structure to my daily life. And I began to really miss the social interaction, as doing it through a screen just isn’t the same.
I think we’re so used to being so connected at all times. We’re constantly surrounded by people, we’re constantly out doing things, and this has just really hit me hard. I’m not used to not having people around me all the time. You begin to crave just being able to sit next to people, have face to face conversations.
Everything just feels a bit heavier, there’s nothing you can do to distract yourself. I did try starting lots of different projects, like decorating certain rooms, art projects, anything I could do to just try and keep my brain busy.
But then there does come a point where you just have to feel the emotions that you’re feeling, and that’s loneliness. And as much as family are there to check in with you, all you want, is to just have someone there with you. But the dogs have been an amazing substitution.
I think it’s quite hard on my generation in particular. My nan for example, she’s 89 and lives on her own anyway, so she’s quite used to it – she doesn’t know social media, so she doesn’t rely on it. But I do rely on it.
I don’t particularly like that about my generation, but I do rely on it. I do need constant interaction with people, I do need people around me. I think the younger kids aren’t used to that yet either, so they don’t need that as much as we do, so I do think we’re experiencing that quite heavily.
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As the measures were slowly relaxed, I was able to meet up with family members in the garden and meet my sister for walks with our dogs, which has really helped. But I haven’t felt comfortable yet going into someone else’s house or having someone visit me in my house.
If I had any advice to give, I would say reach out to people. At first, I felt like I was being a burden, as other people had their own things going on. But people are there for you, so just reach out, even if it’s just on the phone.
As it really does for wonders for your mental health and distract you from your loneliness.
Don’t be scared to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.