The well-being of U.K.’s young adults is worsening, exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis and employment concerns, according to research from The Prince’s Trust and NatWest.

By Maggie Mancini

Research from The Prince’s Trust and NatWest finds that one in five (21%) of young people in the U.K. have missed work in the last year due to their mental health. Similar numbers (18%) report that a mental health issue has stopped them from applying for a job or attending an interview (12%) during the last 12 months. More than a quarter (29%) worry their current employer wouldn’t support them if they experienced a mental health problem.  

The Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index is an annual research report based on a YouGov survey of 2,239 16- to 25-year-olds across the U.K., gauging young people’s confidence and happiness across a range of areas, from their physical and mental health to money and working life.  

The report finds that 40% of people within this age range have experienced a mental health problem, while one-fifth (21%) report their mental health has worsened over the last year. Over half (54%) of young people say that the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, with over one-third reporting that they always or often feel down or depressed.  

More than one-third (35%) of young people are worried that their mental health will stop them from achieving their career ambitions. Two in five (41%) say that worrying about achieving these goals has made their mental health worse.  

Despite this, most young people report that having a job is good for their mental health (62%), enabling them to feel confident about their future (68%) and giving them a sense of purpose in life (65%). The overall well-being of young people remains low, with happiness and confidence in mental health seeing the biggest decrease compared to other factors.  

Happiness in work, education, qualifications, and money are at all-time lows, while unemployed 16- to 25-year-olds consistently report the lowest overall well-being.  

“This year’s report shows that rising rates of poor mental health are significantly impacting young people’s education and early careers,” says Jonathan Townsend, U.K. chief executive of The Prince’s Trust. “This is leading to vicious cycle where poor mental health is having a negative impact on young people’s work, yet being unemployed has a negative impact on their well-being. This is a deeply concerning trap.”  

The research shows that poor mental health is having the greatest impact on the education and employment of unemployed young people and those from poorer backgrounds. One in 10 unemployed young people have left work in the last 12 months due to a mental health issue, compared to 4% of peers.  

Almost half (48%) of all young people worry about not having the right skills or experience to get a job in the future. More than one-third no longer feel in control of their future, and over a quarter (26%) feel they will fail in life. One-third (32%) of young people report that help with securing work experience or training would help them achieve their career ambitions. This is followed by over a quarter of people who would like help to build confidence, improve their CV and interview skills, and build workplace skills to improve their qualifications.  

Tags: Employee Wellness, News Ticker, Workforce Management

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