New film shares teenagers’ lockdown experiences, alongside toolkit for educators

Experts from The University of Manchester have created a short film which shares teenagers’ experiences of lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been released alongside a free online toolkit for education staff working to support teenagers during the pandemic.

In the first lockdown last year, a research team led by Dr Ola Demkowicz asked young people aged 16-19 to share their lockdown experiences, with an emphasis on their wellbeing. Teenagers across the UK wrote about their experiences, and the team analysed these accounts to explore what lockdown has been like for this group, how it felt for them, and how they have managed to cope with it.

The film, made with drama students from The University of Manchester, captures quotes directly from the teenagers who took part in the study. It highlights the challenges that they say they have experienced and the impacts on their wellbeing, including how lockdown has been an ‘emotional rollercoaster’ which has brought a lot of loss and uncertainty.It also highlights how the teenagers who responded have been caring for themselves and coping in lockdown, including their advice on caring for personal wellbeing.

The film also emphasises some positives and “silver linings” to come out of lockdown, where teenagers say that they have been able to enjoy time to themselves, and space to engage in their own hobbies and personal interests.

The film highlights how difficult lockdown can be for teenagers, which may explain some of the rises in mental health issues that are being observed in wider research. The ‘positives of lockdown’ shown in the film also draw attention to how challenging normal life can be for teenagers.
Dr Ola Demkowicz

The new Supporting Teenagers Toolkit being launched alongside the film includes a collation of wider resources based on key issues identified in the study, as well as new resources including a lesson plan which explores students’ self-care and coping and guidance for supporting students working remotely. The toolkit is designed to be used by staff working with teenagers in secondary schools, colleges, and universities.

“Education staff are facing a range of new challenges in supporting students during the COVID-19 pandemic - we hope that this toolkit can provide useful information and resources to aid them in this process,” Ola added.

To view the film and the toolkit, visit

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