Hidden Cost: Young multicultural Victorians and COVID-19

The global Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant impact upon all Australians across a range of social, economic, and health and wellbeing indicators. Victoria, one of the hardest hit states, has been in a ‘State of Emergency’ since mid-March, and has experienced varying degrees of physical distancing and isolation measures from this time.

Young Victorians have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis, experiencing high rates of job losses, financial and housing stress and education disruption. This substantially increases the risk of mental ill health among this age group. In addition, many young people have expressed their concerns about increased racism and discrimination brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. Internationally, racism and racial discrimination have been dubbed the ‘second pandemic’ and racism declared a ‘public health emergency’.

Based on the feedback and concerns of young people, communities and workers, the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) developed a rapid response survey to better understand young people’s experiences throughout the COVID-19 crisis and Victoria’s stage three lockdown in June 2020.

376 eligible participants participated in the survey, answering questions on their health and wellbeing, experiences of racism and racial discrimination, and changes to their everyday lives and feelings about their future since the COVID-19 crisis began.

This joint report from ANU and CMY explores the findings of the survey and examines the effect that the COVID-19 crisis has had on the lives of young people living in Victoria, their experiences of racism and discrimination, and the effect the crisis is having on their mental health.