David’s Lockdown Experience

We recently caught up with David*, a 14-year-old year 9 student, who completed Khulisa’s Face It Programme in February this year and was keen to share his experience of lockdown so far.

David said that overall, he has been coping well however, he has been experiencing feelings of sadness, boredom and anxiety to name a few. He feels really sad about the covid-19 situation and for the people who have lost their lives and the families they have left behind. He has been able to manage these emotions by keeping in regular contact with his family and friends and engaging in his school work, which he is able to access online.

David said that covid-19 has made him think more about the importance of hygiene as germs can so easily be passed from one person to another. He has been trying to avoid touching his face and has even gone as far as to succeed in breaking one of his habits, biting his nails. He’s noticed that he has thought a lot more about his family and their well-being and ensures that he checks in with them regularly to see how they are.

David shared his concerns about his future and education most of all. He is supposed to be picking his G.C.S.E options this year, but is uncertain about how things are going to work and worried that he may not get to choose the options he wants. David has been managing his anxiety around his future by using his support network. He said that in the past he would never have talked about his feelings to anyone, but this has changed since he participated in the ‘Face It’ programme. He’s noticed that he is now able to talk more openly about his feelings with his family and friends.

"I liked the fact that we had permission to express ourselves."

David told us that during the programme he realised there are other people who are going through some of the same challenges as him, and who hold back from talking about their feelings because they are afraid of being judged and perceived as being weak. He thought that he was the only one that felt this way! He recalled feeling surprised and relieved when for the first time on the programme he talked about a personal experience and everyone actually listened to him and no one laughed. He felt really supported by the group and he realised that he can actually trust people.

This experience encouraged him to open up more, because he felt that it was a safe space to do so which has enabled him to grow in confidence. Instead of suppressing his feelings he is now more able to speak about his problems and ask for support. David has since gone on to develop good friendships with some of the group members, this was a real positive for David as he felt he didn’t have much of a friendship circle prior to the programme.

"I feel comfortable talking to people I don’t know now."

David is now part of a WhatsApp group, with some of his friends from the Face It programme and he said that every day they express how grateful they are to have each other for support during the lockdown. David explained that the group provides a lot of laughter, which helps get rid of the boredom and make things fun to pass the time.

Without the coping strategies that David learnt on the Face It programme, his experience of covid-19 could have been a lot different.

How many young people are out there right now ill-equipped to cope with the challenges that covid-19 brings? Help Khulisa support more young people during this period and beyond.

Oh, and by the way, David has one question for the Prime Minister:

"How will this affect our lives in the future?"

*Participant names and images have been changed to protect privacy