Since the end of the lockdown in December 2021 and January 2022, there has been an improvement in well-being among young people. Their confidence in the future has decreased, however. This is apparent from the results of the fifth research round in the quarterly youth study among young people aged 12 to 25 years. The survey was conducted in September 2022. The results are part of the Health Research for COVID-19 study. 

The Network for Health Research in Disasters (GOR Network) publishes a quarterly update on this page, summarising key results from survey research and data from primary care providers. The aim is to provide information to the municipalities, the provinces and the national government of the Netherlands to assist them in formulating policies.

Summary of research round 5

Results have been published from four previous research rounds focusing on young people in the Netherlands. In rounds 3, 4 and 5, adults (26 years and over) were also included in the study. The following is a summary of key results from youth research.

Minor recovery in well-being among young people 

The results of round 4 (June 2022) showed very limited recovery in mental health among young people, compared to round 3 in March 2022: young people experiencing mental health problems dropped from 39% to 37%. This trend continued and intensified in this round, dropping from 37% in round 4 to 32% in round 5.  

Young people indicated that they were experiencing fewer mental health problems. Fewer young people felt lonely or stressed. The percentage of young people who had suicidal thoughts dropped from 16% to 13%. GP visits due to suicide-related thoughts or attempts were still more frequent than before the pandemic, but this difference was reduced in the most recent round. Young people who had experienced COVID-related problems were less likely to still be suffering from the effects. Examples include a SARS-CoV-2 infection or fear of becoming infected. 

Less confidence in the future 

A decline was observed in young people’s sense of confidence in the future. In June 2022 (round 4), about half of the young people surveyed (51%) felt confident about the future, compared to 47% in September (round 5). 

Physical symptoms  

Following the trend in GP data from previous research periods, the number of GP visits for many symptoms and health problems in the third quarter of 2022 was at a level comparable to the same period in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.      

Situation during the research round 

The fifth round looked at the period from June 2022 to August 2022. The GP data encompasses visits to general practitioners in the period from July 2022 to September 2022. Although there was a summer wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in July, the number of hospital admissions remained relatively low.   

Approach used in the quarterly youth study 

The quarterly study consists of data from two sources: the survey-based study and the primary care data provided by GPs. In September 2022, a total of 4,608 young people (aged 12-25 years) completed a survey on their mental and physical health. In addition, we look at the data provided by general practitioners (in the primary care database maintained by Nivel – the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research). They keep track of the health problems and conditions for which people visit their GP.    

Since results are now available from three or more research rounds on nearly all topics, the text-based analysis is now accompanied by trend charts. These charts show trends in the mental and physical health of the Dutch population during the COVID-19 pandemic.    

Upcoming and previous research rounds 

The surveys for round 5 were completed between 5 September 2022 and 20 September 2022. Previous surveys were conducted in September and December 2021 and in March and June 2022. The following research round is planned for December 2022.

This information in Dutch