On 21st of November the annual conference “The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of NEETs” was held, organized by Association “Sustainability of progressive and open communication”, leading partner in the Project LIKE “Life Investment is the Key to Employment”. During the online broadcast of the event, the audience had the opportunity to ask their questions via live chat and by phone for those who do not want their identity to be revealed. Project LIKE works with young people with mental health problems and in all of the methods and approaches to them it is taken into account the specifics of the target group. During the discussion interesting questions regarding preserving mental health appeared from the audience thus giving the lectors an opportunity to share some advice and recommendations on how to deal with the stress, fear and anxiety caused by the restrictions and the pandemic.

After a brief introduction by the head of the project who talked about the progress of the project and the conducted researches, the conference continued with a narrative on the historical aspect of pandemics, paying attention to the lack of exclusivity of this pandemic, creating a feeling of ease and removing the stress in the audience. One of the psychologist experts discussed the topic of social isolation, defining the term “loneliness” and explaining how the isolation affects the NEETs mental health, stressing that continuity of loneliness could be a predictor of sustainable mental health problems, and from there we delve into the difficulties of social inclusion and employment. That topic was followed by an insight on how the COVID-19 pandemic affects youth unemployment and it was reviewed by the psychiatry expert, who paid attention to the difficulties and struggles that NEETs face trying to find a job in the current situation. The lectors talked about the activities of the “Hidden Likes” houses being adapted to the current situation stressing that if necessary an increase of psychological intervention is possible should the mental problems of the NEETs intensify.

In conclusion, the conference was informative, shed light on past events and potential development for the future, and gave some insight on the activities in respect to the current situation, striving to keep a positive tone in spite of all the negatives, reassuring that the work will continue by implementing all the necessary measures for the safety of both NEETs and their mentors.