One in five young people suffer symptoms of mental health illness from being out of work - survey

The Northern Echo: WORKING KNOWLEDGE: Katrina Daniel, who set up her own company, now works for The Prince’s Trust helping other young people find employment WORKING KNOWLEDGE: Katrina Daniel, who set up her own company, now works for The Prince’s Trust helping other young people find employment

MORE than one in five young people in the North-East say they have experienced symptoms of mental illness as a result of being out of work, according to a survey for charity The Prince’s Trust.

And young women from the region are twice as likely to be affected in this way as young men, it is claimed.

The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index polled more than 2,000 people and paints a bleak picture for many young unemployed.

The plight of those aged under 24 who are out of work has been thrown into sharp focus by a growing number who are claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA).

In October 2008 those claiming JSA in the North-East for more than six months totalled 2,275. By October 2013 that had risen by 294 per cent to 8,970.

Twenty one per cent of young people living in the North-East questioned for the survey said they had experienced at least one of the following as a direct result of unemployment – suicidal thoughts, self-harm, panic attacks, being prescribed anti-depressants, feelings of self-loathing, insomnia, feeling inferior to others, difficulty controlling anger, drinking large amounts of alcohol and taking drugs.

This was higher than the national average of 19 per cent.

More than a quarter of young people from the region – 26 per cent – also said they ‘always’ or ‘often’ felt down or depressed with long term unemployed people significantly more likely to feel this way.

The Prince’s Turst, which in 2013 worked with almost 4,000 disadvantaged young people across the North-East, said young people needed help to build their self-esteem and move into work.

Its regional director Jonathan Townsend 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.

“Our message to them is this: Organisations like The Prince’s Trust are supporting young people like you every day, helping them back into work, education or training. You are not alone and you need not struggle alone.”

For more information about The Prince’s Trust visit www.princes-trust.org.uk/youthindex or follow The Trust on Facebook or Twitter www.facebook.com/princes-trust / www.twitter.com/princestrust

CASE STUDY 

KATRINA Daniel, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, set up her own bakery company, with support from The Prince’s Trust, after failing with more than 200 job applications.

After struggling to find a job for almost two years upon leaving sixth form in the summer of 2011, she eventually decided to look into self-employment as an alternative.

After attending the Trust’s Enterprise programme she learnt about the basics of self-employment and set up The Up ‘n’ Under Pie Company.

The Northern Echo:

She said: “ The constant knockbacks really took their toll and not having a structure to your day can be very tough. I was constantly anxious and I would stay awake at night worrying that my life was going nowhere. However I knew that I had so much to give, I just hadn’t had my lucky break yet.

“I always had a love of good food and thought there was a gap in the market for quality gourmet pies, and when friends and family began asking for my pies I thought that I may be able to turn it into a business.”

The 21-year-old now works for The Prince’s Trust full-time, helping other young people to find work.

She said: “I love my baking and I still keep this going on the side and will maybe go back to it one day, but knowing that I am making a difference to young people’s lives is amazing.

“I've come so far, but there are so many other young people out there who are experiencing unemployment and need all the help we can give them to find work.”

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