Teenagers’ Experiences of Life in Lockdown (TELL)

TELL is a research project led by The University of Manchester and Liverpool John Moores University.

What is TELL?

TELL aims to understand 16- to 19-year-olds’ experiences of the UK lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project places particular emphasis on this age group's wellbeing.

16- to 19-year-olds have faced sudden disruption during a key stage in their transition to adulthood. During this stage, they usually become more autonomous and begin planning for their futures.

Lockdown has not only created disruption for this group in their daily lives. It may also have disrupted them in the long term. Exams have been cancelled and the employment market appears less stable.

As such, we set out to learn more about what lockdown has been like for this age group.

We asked teenagers aged 16-19 in the UK to provide a written account of their experiences of lockdown. We asked them to tell us what lockdown looked like for them, what it felt like, and how they managed it.

More than 100 young people shared their experiences with us. We are using the findings to share considerations on ways to support teenagers and their wellbeing during this time.

What have we learned so far?

Find out what our teenage participants told us about their experiences of lockdown at Teenagers' Experiences of Life in Lockdown (TELL): Main findings.

The above document also contains considerations for teenagers, parents and carers, education staff and settings, and mental health and wellbeing professionals.

We also asked participants what advice they had for others managing lockdown - find out what they recommended, in their own words, at Teenagers’ Experiences of Life in Lockdown (TELL): Caring for your wellbeing.

Get in touch

The project is led by principal investigator Dr Ola Demkowicz (The University of Manchester) and Dr Emma Ashworth (Liverpool John Moores University).

If you have any questions about the research, please email Dr Demkowicz.

You can keep up to date with the latest findings by following TELL on Twitter.

Get help

If you are struggling with your mental health during the lockdown, or are experiencing any worries or distress, please talk to a trusted adult or get in touch with the relevant organisation below.

I am struggling with my mental health

  • Childline - A free, private and confidential service for under 19s where you can talk about anything. Calls do not show up on phone bills. Call 0800 1111, or use their live chat feature (9am to midnight).
  • The Mix - A free and confidential support service for under 25s. Call 0808 808 4994, use their live chat feature (4-11pm), or text THEMIX to 85258.
  • Your GP - Talk to your GP by phoning your GP surgery.

I am in an unsafe environment

  • Childline - A free, private and confidential service for under 19s where you can talk about anything. Calls do not show up on phone bills. Call 0800 1111, or use their live chat feature (9am to midnight).
  • Samaritans - For anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Call 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258.

I am experiencing a mental health crisis or am having thoughts about harming myself

Contact the Samaritans if you are struggling to cope or need someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Call 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258.