Men’s Health consults ‘Generation Covid’

In recognising the destabilising effect the pandemic has had on the lives of young adults, Men’s Health has given ‘Generation Covid’ its own platform to talk about – and address – the major struggles from the past year, by consulting a wide range of 17–23-year-olds to write, edit and advise its April issue.

Men’s Health consults ‘Generation Covid’
Two from Generation C who helped on the issue: Ibrahim Aires and Bryony Gooch. Photograph: Ibrahim by Chris Floyd.

With education systems disrupted, prospects dashed, and social lives culled at a time they should be at their peak, this month’s issue of Men’s Health has called upon a plethora of young adults to not only raise awareness of issues affecting ‘Generation C’, but critically address them too.

The April issue is influenced by A-level hopefuls navigating through the newly structured grading system, university students facing the mental challenges of an anxious freshers’ year, aspiring personal trainers, young chefs and up-and-coming writers all looking to overcome the Covid adversity.

Several investigations have acted as catalysts for Men’s Health consulting Generation C, say publishers Hearst UK. Government studies into the pandemic’s impact on students in higher education found that 53% were dissatisfied, with many reporting lower levels of happiness and higher levels of anxiety. Whilst a Mental Health Foundation survey conducted last year reported a quarter of adults experiencing feelings of loneliness during lockdown – with that figure rising to four in ten among those aged 18-24.

Men’s Health’s editor-in-chief Toby Wiseman said: “Last summer, Men’s Health began its investigation into the many ways the pandemic has been – and still is – disproportionately affecting young adults, who’ve largely been incarcerated in bedrooms at a time when coltish exuberance should be fully flowing.

“Rather than just talking about the problems facing Generation C, we decided to talk directly to them. More than that, we made an effort to recruit young adults – and pay them a proper fee – to speak directly to that demographic,” added Wiseman. “Men and women between the ages of 17 and 23 have been involved in the production of this magazine throughout, from writers and interviewers, to personal trainers and nutritionists.”

Kicking off the April issue, 17-year-old Ibrahim Aires, a former Men’s Health cover star, interviews 65-year-old David Willetts – the Conservative minister responsible for increasing university fees to their current level – on intergenerational inequality and the role schools can play within mental health.

Meanwhile, English student Bryony Gooch, an editor at Exeter University’s Exepose? newspaper, investigates the mental challenges faced by fresher students and the negative publicity they’ve faced, as well as her own personal struggles over the last year.

In helping to address the ongoing issues for Generation C, Men’s Health’s April issue – which goes on sale Wednesday 17th March – has involved individuals such as:

  • Ibrahim Aires: An advocate for youth mental health services, 17-year-old Aires was a cover star of Men’s Health’s June 2019 issue and a leading voice in its feature “Male Mental Health: The Next Generation”. He hopes to study marketing and later work in advertising. He interviews David Willetts about Covid-19’s impact on intergenerational inequality.
  • Bryony Gooch: English student Gooch is an editor at Exeter University’s Exeposé newspaper. She leads a report – alongside her fellow pupils – on the daunting hurdles now facing Generation C: “The link between higher education and social mobility feels a little flimsy when you’re completing your degree from your bedroom,” she says.
  • Oliver Clarke: A strongman competitor who achieved a level-3 PT qualification last September and now works at a Hertford-based gym. “It’s been a tough time to start as a PT,” he says. “I’ve mostly had to train people outside in a field!” In the magazine, Clarke offers his top tips for building boulder-like biceps.
  • Kamila Bell: A print editor at Exeposé, Bell is an international relations student at Exeter University, where she is now in her final year. Away from her studies, Bell lives in Bournemouth and can generally be found paddleboarding along the coast.
  • Jacob Emerson: Having started his career as a kitchen porter, the 23-year-old is now a sous chef at Quo Vadis in Soho under executive chef Jeremy Lee and head chef Doug Sims. Emerson shares the tools of his trade in this month’s Men’s Health.
  • Alex Mistlin: Journalist Mistlin writes that social media can be harnessed as a tool for meaningful interaction. “It’s too often covered by older, more privileged people who don’t fully appreciate how revolutionary it can be in granting marginalised people access to information and social bonds,” he tells Men’s Health.

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