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Covid in Scotland: Pandemic 'changing lives' of young people in Drumchapel

Reported by lily | December 16th, 2020 @ 11:58 PM

Covid in Scotland: Pandemic 'changing lives' of young people in Drumchapel

As part of the BBC's Our Lives series, I went back to where I grew up - Drumchapel in Glasgow - to find out how the pandemic has affected the ambitions and the mental health of young people there.

Ryan McIlhagga, 22

Being at home more over lockdown left 22-year-old Ryan McIlhagga thinking about his childhood trauma.

"At a young age, I lost my sister and mum to suicide and that impacted me a lot growing up," Ryan says.

"As I got older and things were getting better, my brother then passed away through suicide."

Ryan, who had been working as a chef, struggled with the Covid lockdown earlier this year and turned to alcohol.

"There were days I wouldn't even speak to anyone, I would just sit in silence and stare at the wall," he says.

"Looking back and thinking how bad it was, I'd hate to think somebody else is like that."

Whenever he needs support, Ryan visits his gran from a safe distance.

"She is everything to me," he says. "It hurts me not getting to see her properly."

Ryan is now keen to highlight mental ill-health to help others.

"I'm getting better and things are moving on," he says.

"It can be hard for people to get the motivation to go out and do something - but even a walk around the park helps. It isn't impossible to be happy."

Becky, 17, Abbie, 17, and Craig,16

Socially-distanced selfies are the new norm at Drumchapel High School and students there are taking new safety measures in their stride.

"It takes two seconds to hand-sanitise. It's not really as difficult as everyone thinks," says 17-year-old Becky.

The sixth year pupil and her classmates are considering the impact coronavirus has had on their future plans.

"It's changed my life on quite a big scale because my main goal was to go into real estate and start my own firm but people aren't going to go about buying houses," says 16-year-old Craig.

"I'm now going to go to college and get a barbering course and hopefully that goes well."

Seventeen-year-old Abbie is hoping to secure a place at university but is worried about the scrapping of Higher exams next year.

"I might not get the grades I want," she says. "When you say you're from Drumchapel, it's a lot harder to achieve your goals. You have to work so much harder so there is a lot of pressure on us."

Becky agrees that stereotypes are a big issue for locals.

"Everybody's gave Drumchapel a name for itself but that's not what it's like," she says.

"I would say Drumchapel is amazing. I really would."

Read news with details here. : SLOT

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