Solitude and loneliness wearing down even the most connected generation

There’s a time in life when social contacts are your frontline supports, your comfortable confidants and your surrogate family. 

As the pandemic widens the gap between young adults and their peers, more and more say they feel cut off and lost, even with more virtual connections available than any generation before them. 

“People’s main support networks at this time with their youth, it’s their friends. It’s that kind of social interactions,” said Madeline Lawler, a 22-year-old university student and president of Y4Y (Youth for Youth) Quebec.

“All of a sudden, everyone becomes restrained, sort of, to their household. Their social bubble was extended a bit at first, and then it just kind of got smaller and smaller. I don’t think people realize that, for a lot of youth, that essentially cut them off from the main people that they’ve relied on and have learned to rely on.”

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 some of their most trusted 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.

More in this series: 


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) crisisservicescanada.ca

  • 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 www.kidshelpphone.ca

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

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