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Poor mental health keeping more young people out of work

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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

A third (34%) of young people aged 18–24 have reported symptoms that indicate they were experiencing a common mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder — a big increase since 2000 when just 24% reported these problems.

This is one of the key findings of a report by an independent think tank, the Resolution Foundation, which shows that young people now have the poorest mental health of any age group and that this can lead to them being in lower-paid jobs or unemployed.

We've Only Just Begun: Action to Improve Young People’s Mental Health, Education and Employment is the culmination of a three-year research programme exploring the relationship between the mental health and work outcomes of young people, funded by the Health Foundation.

“Over that time,” the Foundation states, “we have examined issues such as how mental health and insecure work collide; why low hours are so prevalent for young workers today; and the intersection between young people’s mental health, employment and geography.”

The report highlights that young people with mental health problems are more likely to be out of work than their healthy peers.

Between 2018 and 2022, 21% of 18–24-year-olds with mental health problems were workless, compared to 13% of those without mental health problems.

The study also found that young women fare worse, and are one-and-a-half times more likely to experience poor mental health as young men (41% compared with 26%).

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