COVID-19 has done more than delay life for young people, it's left a gap

They may not be suffering the most severe physical effects of the pandemic, but the mental health of young adults in Quebec taken a greater hit than any other group.

Out of the Dark digital series looks at impact of COVID-19 on young adults

Out of the Dark: 'There's just a gap'

2 years ago
Duration 6:13
Young Quebecers are struggling to find a place for their grief and frustration as the measures to contain COVID-19 drag on and compound the impact on their lives.

It's easy to dismiss the pandemic-linked challenges youth are facing as resolvable — just delay the graduation, meet with your friends later, put off leaving home, figure out a way to start university entirely online. 

In a time when illness and death are an ever-present reality, these things are not "essential."

But grief and loss take many forms. And just because the loss of prom may seem trivial to those who celebrated their own without worry, these are major life milestones that are going unmarked, uncelebrated, forgotten. 

As part of CBC Montreal's Out of the Dark: Real Talk on Mental Health project, we spoke with young Quebecers about their fears, their hopes and the reality of their lives cut off from social contacts at a time of life when social circles are often your second family and frontline supports. 

While young Quebecers may not be suffering the brunt of the physical effects of COVID-19, they are reporting the highest increase in psychological distress, according to a recent study by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.

"With everything going on and everybody caught up in the pandemic and the consequences of it, whether it be health-wise or employment or issues in terms of like bills or mortgage, [there's] so much," said counsellor Khan Bouba-Dalambaye.

"I think everybody just gets caught up in this storm of things to address and to take care of. And when we prioritize, inevitably, something is going to be pushed to the bottom of that ladder. And I feel that maybe for a lot of youth, that's what they're experiencing right now."

This story is part of a special CBC Quebec project Out of the Dark: Real Talk on Mental Health. If you are having a hard time coping, here are some resources that could help.

If you are in crisis or know someone who is, here is where to get help:

  • Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (Phone) | 45645 (Text, 4 p.m. to midnight ET only)

  • In Quebec (French): Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)

  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (Phone), Live Chat counselling at

  • Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre