The lasting legacy of Covid-19 in young people’s lives has been highlighted in an emotional documentary filmed in Bradford.

The first ‘Young in Covid’ film saw teenagers bravely reflect on the silent pandemic behind closed doors.

Surrounded by screens and the same four walls, young people watched their former selves slip away to the sound of death announcements and health warnings.

The world is now three years into the ‘new normal’ and an entire generation is recovering from loss and lockdowns.

“People have assumed Covid is like a light switch," Sofia Buncy MBE, national co-ordinator at The Khidmat Centres, said. 

"The long term symptoms of Covid still remain in society.”

After 13-months of intense filming, 'Young in Covid - Routes to Recovery' has helped the city’s next generation find their voice.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mariam Zumeer, pictured at the time she was hospitalised with long CovidMariam Zumeer, pictured at the time she was hospitalised with long Covid (Image: Young in Covid)

Mariam Zumeer, part of West Yorkshire Police’s Independent Advisory Group, has spoken about her battle with long Covid.

She is also forging her own path towards her dream of working for the police and regaining her strength.

Mariam was hospitalised with the virus at the same time as her mother and late grandfather, who sadly died in the following days. 

Her final conversation with the man she affectionately called ‘baba’ was over a video call. 

She has slowly built up her stamina since the dark days of her eight week long induced coma.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mariam Zumeer, pictured Mariam Zumeer, pictured (Image: Young in Covid)

“It was life and death for me,” Mariam, who lives in West Bowling, said. 

“We were in the lockdown, the next thing I’m in hospital fighting for my next breath and it was a miracle to come back home.

“I’ve thrown myself back into reality. The recovery is slow.

“For a long time I brushed it out. I need to focus on getting better. It’s like running away from something but you can’t hide.

“I was on the waiting list for long Covid for about six months and it just started [early March]. It came to a point where I was like, nothing’s going to happen is it? 

“There does need to be funding. There’s so many people out there struggling with long Covid.

“My mind’s moving a lot faster than my body. I’m still playing catch up two years on. It’s quite a struggle. There’s so much I want to do in life.”

Speaking about the film, she said: “It’s another call for help.

“We’re a little family who support each other.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Trisha Magadoyiovos, pictured in the Young in Covid filmTrisha Magadoyiovos, pictured in the Young in Covid film (Image: Young in Covid)

Trisha Magadoyiovos, who was in year eight at the start of the pandemic, says she has found the power to stand up for herself.

She spoke about how she overcame academic pressure, stigma and racial slurs - both in and outside of the classroom.

The 15-year-old said: “It was like people expected you to be at a certain level even with the lack of support. You get plucked from one year and forced back in another. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Part of the Young in Covid - Routes to Recovery film Part of the Young in Covid - Routes to Recovery film (Image: Young in Covid)

“Education is something I take really seriously. I have big goals for myself. It’s the stress of being let down by yourself because you don’t know many things. People around you might be doing better. Because of Covid I’m not where I’m supposed to be right now.

“One thing that did come through to me was about minority groups being attacked. Covid was this big opportunity for people to discriminate against others. I was being exposed to a lot of racial slurs and stereotypes.

“Most of the adults I was around, they would find me challenging, hysterical or overthinking small things. It made me feel like I was making a big deal out of nothing.”

She added: “It was reassuring to learn it wasn’t just myself who felt like everything was crumbling.

“When things get stressful and it looks like it’s just not working I force myself to do it anyway. One thing that’s definitely changed is finding the confidence to speak.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jassa Singh, picturedJassa Singh, pictured (Image: Young in Covid)

Jassa Singh and Jorge Muhammed revealed how their connections to faith had been strengthened. 

Jorge, 18, who lives in Allerton, said: “It was a bad time for my mental health, being shut off from the world.

“We felt isolated, we were alone.

“I couldn’t live. I was going to end my life. I found my God. Covid was so bad but I’m so grateful, it was a life lesson. I value my life.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jorge, seen in the Young in Covid - Routes to Recovery filmJorge, seen in the Young in Covid - Routes to Recovery film (Image: Young in Covid)

Jassa, who is now studying music production at the University of Huddersfield, channeled his anguish into meditation and creativity. 

“During that year there was a lot of anger and frustration about what was going on,” the 23-year-old from Wyke said.

“It felt like we were at war. That year was a defining year in changing who I was.

“The main lessons were to appreciate the little things, being in person and to get outside, see your loved ones as much as you want to see them. The tagline that came to me was ‘Self love is selfless love’.”