COVID-19 diaries: I’ve had to put my life on hold

Thursday 9 April 2020

Economically vulnerable young women will be hardest hit by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. We are very concerned about the financial and emotional impact this will have on them. In the first of a series of blogs, we asked young women to share their personal experiences from the last few weeks. 

Today, we meet Amie. She talks frankly about how the coronavirus outbreak has impacted her mental health and how employers and the government could be doing more to support young women.  

Amie D“The news of the lock down hit me hard. I fully and totally expected it, but I still wasn't prepared.” 

Worrying about work 

I was told on the Monday evening not to go to work, and that we would get an update the following day. This update was pushed back and pushed back and pushed back...  

I had to wait an entire week to find out I had been furloughed. But I was lucky - my employer made hundreds of people redundant just before the announcement. It was a worrying time that week, waiting to hear if I too would be made redundant. 

Honestly, my employer could have easily opted to pay the other 20%, and shown us all some more support. I think employers in general could have helped staff, mothers with children should be able to stay at home on full pay to protect their families, and people need to be reassured. 

Struggling with the rent  

I'm lucky, because my lovely landlords let me off one month's rent, but next month, when I get my first furlough wage I will struggle. I've cancelled all my non essential bills, like Spotify and Amazon Prime, and I'm trying to not touch my wages. 

The government needs to put something more in place for renters. They have let people have three months break from mortgage payments, but what about us renters? I'm going to have to pay rent out of my furlough wages, and my rent will probably take 3/4 of that payment. It's no good just saying they have given money to local authorities, we need a protection. 

Don’t forget people around you with mental health issues 

I have mental health issues and as a result my mum just told me to pack a bag and head to hers. I've been here for nearly 2 weeks now, and it's better than being alone sometimes, but I also miss my own space. 

I think one of the biggest things that is apparent to me throughout the crisis is the effect on mental health. Mine is struggling. I have minimal structure to my day. I stay up later, sleep in later and this feel like a regression in my health. I've tried to implement things like still doing my makeup and hair every day, and getting dressed to lessen the damage to my mental health but it's hard. Whilst I appreciate being able to stay at my mums, I'm desperate for my own space, to just feel like I can do whatever I want to do.  

Don't forget those people around you with mental health problems, because they really will be suffering, especially if they are alone. 

I'm definitely anxious as to how this is going to affect me. I had just got myself to a great point in life. Not reliant on anyone, living alone and now I've had to put life on hold. I'm worried about my financial situation - what if I lose my home? 

Amie

We are asking young women aged 18-30 in England and Wales to answer a short survey to help us to understand how the coronavirus is affecting them. It will take just 15 minutes to complete and at the end you can enter a prize draw to win one of five £20 Gift4All vouchers. 

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