German Ethics Council calls for more support for young people in crises

Buyx: The young generation must not fall behind again after the pandemic

The German Ethics Council has called for more support for young people in crises such as the corona pandemic. “Children, adolescents and young adults must not be left alone in social crises,” said Ethics Council Chairwoman Alena Buyx on Monday in Berlin. This is a lesson from the corona pandemic.

It must be prevented that young people carry too much burden. That also applies to the “current, stacking crises” such as the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, said Buyx. 

As an example, she cited the discussion about restrictions on university operations due to the energy crisis and the throttling of heating in lecture halls and other training locations. “We find it very problematic that the young generation should now be burdened again for reasons of energy saving,” said the Chair of the Ethics Council.   

So far, society has “owed a lot to young people,” emphasized Buyx. One rule must be: “How do we protect the younger generations and how can we ensure that we don’t burden them with too much”. Children, adolescents and young adults were   “demanded for great solidarity” in the pandemic . “But those who found themselves in distress did not reliably receive the attention and support they needed,” said Buyk, referring to the psychological and health consequences. Society owes them not only thanks and respect, but concrete action.

There is a danger that the younger generation, as a social minority, will once again “fall behind” when it comes to overcoming the current and future crisis. Buyx said that the Ethics Council now wants to “emphatically” point out deficits and problems again. 

In its ad hoc recommendation, the Ethics Council specifically addressed the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of children, adolescents and young adults. Among other things, the expert panel calls for low-threshold school psychology offers, more therapy places and better networking of the help offers.

Counseling services, medical treatments and help for participation for children and young people must be reliably financed. In addition, gaps in therapy offers would have to be closed and prevention offers would have to be more targeted. “Access to help must be faster and less complicated,” said legal scholar Stephan Rixen, a member of the Ethics Council.

Buyx admitted that although the Ethics Council had already pointed out the situation of young people in the pandemic in March 2020, it “did not pay enough attention to the young generation”. The committee is now hoping for a “little boom” in the direction of politics from the current recommendations.

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