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As we reached a year into quarantine, many young people are feeling the consequences of being shut out from society for so long. Moving back in with parents, working from home and being away from friends has been taking a toll on young people, and despite restrictions loosening up, the effects might be long-lasting.

The situation is dire: over 500,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. alone. On top of that, essential workers are no longer getting hazard pay, and people are losing their homes. The sliver of hope that the vaccine provides has been met with an array of distribution issues that don’t quell the anxieties that come with moving forward from the pandemic.

This specific anxiety and unease that we are experiencing is what a Vox article describes as a “collective grief.” The grief is the result of our lives being turned upside down in a matter of weeks where any sense of normalcy feels far from reach.

According to a report by BlueCross BlueShield Association, 92 percent of millennials said the pandemic has hurt their mental wellbeing. The report also stated that the pandemic has set off a rise in depression, and alcohol and substance abuse.

By July 2020, 52 percent of people ages 18-29 had moved back in with parents, according to the Pew Research Center.  The situation of moving back in with family, particularly if you have a big family, while trying to work from home with stay-at-home orders that gives people nowhere to go to blow some steam can make anyone feel trapped in their own home.

To make matters worse, people are dealing with loss from family members, friends and loved ones who have died from the virus. The grief feels inescapable along with all these other emotions that the uncertainty of the future brings.

Recently, Sen. Bernie Sanders urged members of Congress to pass the now-approved stimulus package in the hopes that it will help young people socialize and aid with the declining mental health of the demographic.

Although a relief package helps, it doesn’t eradicate the looming uncertainty of the future lives we’ll live. If we are truly to move forward from this pandemic, we must address this impending mental health crisis and provide assistance to reach a true sense of normalcy.

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