Statistics Netherlands: lockdowns were hard on young people

Statistics Netherlands reports that one out of every four young adults was ‘mentally unhealthy’ at the beginning of 2021. Young people experienced feelings of sadness, agitation and unhappiness more than before.

By now everyone is familiar with the stories about students wasting away at their laptops, and now Statistics Netherlands also reports that the coronavirus crisis has been tough on young people aged between 18 and 25.

Every year, Statistics Netherlands measures mental health using a survey about sadness, anxiety, serenity and happiness. This time around, approximately ten thousand people completed the survey.

At the start of 2020, right before the first lockdown, approximately 12-15 percent of young people indicated that they were feeling down. One year later, this number was approximately ten percent higher. The difference is smaller in other age groups.

© HOP. Source: Statistics Netherlands.

Statistics Netherlands does not distinguish based on educational level, so university of applied sciences students and university students are all included in the figures.

The findings support the stories circulating about young people weighed down by the crisis and aligns with studies by other institutes including Radboud University Nijmegen. The university in the east of the Netherlands concluded last June that over half of the town’s students feel more depressed than a year ago. One in ten even feels ‘a lot worse’.


Students’ psychological issues top the list of reasons to open up higher education right at the start of the academic year, against the advice issued by the Outbreak Management Team. Perhaps surprisingly in this context, universities reported in a press release earlier this week that only a limited number of students are currently behind in their studies.

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