During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety levels among young Australians rose sharply. At that time, there was massive disruption to schools, higher education, workplace-based training and casual and part-time employment. That sat alongside forced separation from those critical social relationships that are central to the emotional and cognitive development of young people.
While initially there was also some considerable health anxiety among young people, that quickly settled as it became clear that those who were at greatest risk of death or severe illness were largely older Australians. Many young people, except for those who lived through Victoria's 112-day lockdown, were able to return to at least the more basic social and educational aspects of their lives.
But with the arrival of the Delta variant -- and given its degree of infectiousness, likely direct health impacts on young people and repeated hard lockdowns -- are we now headed into another very difficult period for the mental health of young people?