A DISTURBING report reveals 17 per cent of the region’s 16-25 year-olds have shown symptons of mental illness, as a result of being unemployed.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index paints a bleak picture, finding that long term unemployed young people often felt they had nothing to live for.
The findings come when the region has seen a 175 per cent increase in the number of young people claiming benefits for more than six months since the beginning of the recession. A poll discovered more than one in 10 young people said unemployment resulted in them experiencing one of the following: suicidal thoughts, self-harm, panic attacks, feelings of self-loathing, insomnia and inferiority.
They found difficulty controlling anger, drank large amounts of alcohol, took drugs or had been prescribed anti-depressants.
More than one in 10 in the 16-25 age group in the north west said they feel ‘worthless’, and over a quarter said they felt down or depressed. Almost one in five said they felt like an ‘outcast’.
Now The Prince’s Trust, which tackles youth unemployment in the UK, is calling for urgent support from government, health agencies and employers to fund its vital work with long term unemployed young people with mental health issues.
Jonathan Townsend, northern regional director of The Prince’s Trust, said: “Unemployment is proven to cause devastating, long-lasting mental health problems among young people. Thousands wake up every day believing that life isn’t worth living, after struggling for years in the dole queue.
“Here in the north west, 14,215 young people are facing long term unemployment, and there is a real danger that these young people will become hopeless, as well as jobless.
“Organisations like The Prince’s Trust are supporting young people, helping them back into work, education or training. They are not alone and need not struggle alone.”
David Fass, chief executive officer of Macquarie Group, EMEA, said: “The index enables organisations like The Prince’s Trust to offer disadvantaged young people the guidance they need to build a stronger future.”
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “This research proves that unemployment is a public health issue. It is one that must be tackled urgently and it is essential that youth unemployment is added to the public health agenda.”
See princes-trust.org.uk/youth index.