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Teen who struggled with lockdown depression felt ‘there was no end in sight’

Luca Gray, 17 and from Lancashire described how he felt like “there was no end in sight” when he got “very depressed” during the pandemic as he had “nothing to look forward”

Mirror Head Strong campaign : Luca opens up about mental health struggles

“Because there was no end in sight, it affected me quite a lot”.

Luca Gray, 17, from Chorley, Lancashire finished school and started a new job as a Customer Service Apprentice at the Co-op during the pandemic, and said at first things seemed to be going well as he was able to work with colleagues in the office in September 2020.

However, this changed when the third lockdown was announced in December.

“I was still having something to do every day, and I was still seeing people, but after the third lockdown things hit me hard,” said Luca, who lives at home with his parents (didn’t want them to be named).

“I went from coming into the office every day and seeing friends, so having that social interaction, to just moving from my bed to my desk and working all day.

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Luca Gray said he never experienced the depression he suffered during the pandemic, when he couldn’t have any social contact
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Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)




“In January it was really hard. I was only leaving the house a couple of days a week and wasn’t seeing anybody outside my family and I began to get very depressed, especially as it was over the winter and it was so dark and cold all the time so you couldn’t really go out.

“I felt like there wasn’t anything to look forward to, and my mood became very low. I’d never had problems like this before and if it wasn’t for the pandemic I would probably have been fine.

“It just felt like there was no end in sight and it affected me quite a lot really.”

Luca said he doesn’t think there wasn’t enough support for young people during lockdown.



Luca said he didn’t feel like there ‘wasn’t anything to look forward’ to as he struggled with depression during lockdown
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Image:

Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)




“I think we just got left to get on with it by ourselves, and it didn’t feel like there was much support there for us,” he explains.

“There was so much focus on the older generations and the vulnerable groups, but the young people got forgotten.

“Everyone else had their life experiences to fall back on, but it was the first big thing we ever experienced in our lives.

“A lot of my friends were feeling the same way. We were so used to being able to go out whenever we wanted and to have that suddenly taken away from us did affect us a lot.



The teen claims ‘we just got left to get on with it by ourselves’ as he talked of the lack of support for young people
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Image:

Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)




“Even the end of school was a bit ruined for us, as you’re told it’s such a big thing but we were just sent home and that was it.”

It was after speaking to his line manager, who said he could return to the office as restrictions began to ease, that Luca started to feel better mentally.

He said: “It helped me loads, I felt I had something to get up for and being able to see people again and feeling less isolated has had a massive positive impact.”



Luca is one of the estimated 1.5m kids who are expected to need help with their mental health in the coming years
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Image:

Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)




Luca is one of several children speaking to the Mirror about the impact of the pandemic on their mental health.

It’s thought some 1.5m more children will need help in the next three to five years because of the past 19 months – whether it be because the pandemic has triggered or exacerbated a mental health health issue.

The numbers of under 18s suffering from anxiety, low mood, depression, eating disorders and OCD have all rocketed since the first lockdown.


The Daily Mirror is launching our new campaign HeadStrong: Better Mental Health For All.

We’re calling for:

  • Early Access Mental Health Hubs for under 25s to be rolled out across the country, with at least one for each trust.
  • Waiting times to be cut so people actually start treatment with a professional within four weeks
  • The Govt to fill in the gaps in care – an end of red tape which means many don’t fit the set criteria to get help plus 8,500 more mental health staff
  • Compulsory Mental Health education lessons in schools, plus paid counsellors in schools and care homes

Want to help? Write to your MP and ask them to support the current Early Day Motion 459 to debate mental health and the pandemic in parliament.




But unfortunately the children’s mental health services were already at breaking point before Covid.

Here we reveal the problems the system faces and why the Government need to go back to maths class if they think there’s enough funding.

How to get help: If you are struggling or you are worried about a loved one, contact Samaritans on 116123. For more advice visit nhs.uk/mental-health or www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus


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