Stressed & Hopeless: Why Young People In Britain Are Unhappier Than Ever

Photo: Aslan Eylul
In deeply unsettling news today, it has been reported that 16-25-year-olds in the UK are unhappier than they've ever been.
The research comes as part two of the Prince's Trust annual Youth Index Report, which found that young British people's wellbeing is at its lowest since 2009, when the report was first commissioned. In that time, the points recording their emotional health have dropped from 61 to 57 – the biggest fall in any wellbeing area ever recorded.
According to the 2,194 respondents, 61% of them feel "regularly stressed", 53% feel anxious, 47% say they have experienced a "mental problem" and a hugely worrying 27% feel "hopeless" on a regular basis.
Despite claims from older people that young people today are "work shy", two-thirds of the group surveyed say that a job would "give them a sense of purpose" and half think a job would be good for their mental health.
Sadly, 10% of them are not working or in education, and half of these people have been in this position for six months or more. Nine percent of them have lost a job in the last two years.
Over on Reddit, young people are weighing in with their thoughts. "The world feels a lot more competitive and aggressive than how it sounds when my grandfather or even my parents tell stories of their past," one user writes. "Jobs were easier to get even with low education and covered basic necessities easier."
"People feel stuck in dead-end jobs, working doing something dull with no real prospect of owning their own home of [sic] having a decent pension (or even retiring before they're 70). What do young people have to look forward to? What's the realistic, achievable goal?" says another.
"Overpriced rent, no jobs, a degree worth less than Andrex paper, and no progression. Although I did manage to get my driving licence and a car before I lost my job in Feb so I guess I'm getting somewhere," says one user, while another concludes, "We're fucking broke".
The UK Chief Executive of the Prince's Trust, Nick Stace says that the findings should be ringing alarm bells for all of us. "It is vital that government, charities and employers across the UK invest more in developing young people's skills and in providing opportunities for them to progress in fulfilling, sustainable careers."
As sad as the report is, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise. These days, the issue of mental health problems among young people is rarely out of the news. Waiting times for mental healthcare can be as much as 18 months and suicide is regularly cited as the biggest killer of young people. It's a situation which needs action now.
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