Loneliness, anxiety, depression — this pandemic has had a catastrophic effect not only on the physical, but also on the mental health of people across the world. Isolation has presented specific challenges for young people, broadly defined as those under the age of 18. Empowering the next generation to reach their full potential is one of the core commitments of Deutsche Bank’s corporate social responsibility strategy. That’s why we are launching #NotAlone, as part of our global Born to Be youth engagement programme, to help address this pressing issue. And our employees around the world can help invest more through our #NotAlone steps challenge.
Risking the potential of an entire generation
When schools and colleges close young people become disconnected, and not just from education. Many lose the structure and emotional support they rely on to keep going day to day. The pandemic has also heightened worries about the future, with education and career paths at risk. And lockdowns have increased the risk of abuse, neglect and self-harm, and make it even harder for those affected to be heard.
There has been a lot of media coverage across the world highlighting this issue, which will affect young lives for many years to come. At the end of last year, Deutsche Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team conducted a horizon scanning research project on the mental health impact of COVID-19 on young people, to get a better understanding of the challenges and to identify areas that require support in response to the issues arising. The findings were alarming:
- 40% of 11- to 17-year-old children and adolescents in Germany say their mental health has been affected by the pandemic
- 1.5 million young people under 18 will need mental health support in the UK alone.
- 25% of young people in the US have had suicidal thoughts during lockdown.
- In Asia, calls to domestic abuse helplines for young people have increased by 50%.
- The economic cost of the skills gap from this disruption will run into billions of euros.
Young people urgently need help with all of this. They need access to advice, counselling, support networks — to someone who can tell them they will be OK. These resources have never been more in demand, yet they don’t always get the funding they deserve. And there is no quick fix, because the impacts of this pandemic will be felt for years to come. Deutsche Bank will offer relief by partnering with expert charities in this space and by providing financial support for strategic programmes.
The bank has identified youth mental health charities in more than 30 countries. In the UK, for example, we are partnering with Young Minds, the region’s leading charity supporting young people’s mental health. They have established a Coronavirus and mental health hub which gives advice and guidance to young people on how they can tackle anxiety, loneliness, bereavement, and much more. Our partner in the US, The Door, supports young people through individual and group services, care coordination and crisis intervention. Aligning with Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation’s student homelessness strategy, The Door serves an estimated 30% of youth experiencing housing insecurity, substance use and abuse, family disconnection and trauma. The German charity Die Arche provides regular telephone calls and video chats to overcome physical distance and to observe the child’s behaviour carefully to discover severe problems before they emerge. In the APAC region and Europe for example, we support the work of Save the Children Foundation in six countries. Globally, the foundation has provided nearly half a million children and adults with mental health and psychological support.
Every step helps us invest more for young mental health
Since lockdown has been hard on everyone we are launching regional #NotAlone steps challenges to help our employees look after their own health and wellbeing too. By taking part in these, our employees can earn extra funding for our charitable partners as specific targets are met. The global steps challenge will be built on last year’s success when around 8,100 employees achieved over 1.3 billion steps, and thereby raised € 220,000 for more than 20 charities.
“There are millions of young people who feel all alone right now. We would like to encourage all our employees to get behind our #NotAlone campaign to help support the next generation through this challenging time”, says Lareena Hilton, Global Head of Brand Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility at Deutsche Bank.