MORE than one in four young people in work admits to feeling down or depressed “always” or “often”, with this figure rising to nearly half amongst their unemployed peers, according to research released by a youth charity.
The Prince’s Youth Trust research on the happiness of young people found 27 per cent in work reported feeling down or depressed “always” or “often” increasing to 48 per cent amongst those who are not in employment, education or training (Neets).
The survey findings, based on interviews with 2,136 16- to 25-year-olds in the UK, showed that one in ten feels unable to cope with day-to-day life with those classified as Neets twice as likely to feel this way as their peers.
The level of Neets in Yorkshire is among the highest in the country, with one in five in the age range (137,000) without education, employment or training. The latest quarterly figures from the Department for Education showed only the North East and West Midlands regions recording worse figures.
The trust’s fifth annual Youth Index gauged young people’s happiness across a range of areas from family life to physical and mental health. More than one in five, or 22 per cent, said they did not have someone to talk to about their problems while they were growing up, with Neets significantly less likely to have had someone to confide in.
Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, said: “A frightening number of unemployed young people feel unable to cope – and it is particularly tough for those who don’t have a support network in place.
“We know at The Prince’s Trust that it is often those from the most vulnerable backgrounds who end up furthest from the job market.
“Life can become a demoralising downward spiral – from a challenging childhood into life as a jobless adult. But, with the right support, we can help get these lives on track.”
Richard Parish, chief executive of the Royal Society of Public Health, said the recession has eroded young people’s confidence and ambitions.
“The Youth Index clearly shows a worrying discrepancy between young people who are in work and those who are not,” he said.
“These unemployed young people need support to regain their self-worth and, ultimately, get them back in the workplace.
“With recent record-breaking youth unemployment, the work of charities like The Prince’s Trust with vulnerable young people is more critical than ever.”
The Prince’s Trust, founded by the Prince of Wales in 1976, helps young people into jobs through measures such as personal development programmes and mentoring. The charity launched extra help for young people with mental health needs on its team programme four years ago.
Meanwhile a mental health charity has suggested workers dress brightly on the third Monday of the month in a bid to combat “blue Monday”.
Researchers from Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK) claim that the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year.
MHRUK said a combination of bad weather, debt, the need for Christmas detox and poor motivation means the nation’s collective wellbeing is expected to sink to an all-year low on January 21.
The charity aims to raise awareness of depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with its new campaign, Blooming Monday.
It is calling on people to dress in colourful clothing to highlight the plight of those who suffer from the conditions and to raise money for research into treatments.
Dr Laura Davidson, mental health barrister and trustee of MHRUK, said: “It is estimated that 1m working hours are lost each year due to SAD. The common work culture – especially in London where lunch breaks are frowned upon – may be contributing to the increasing numbers of those suffering from SAD.
“During the winter I was waiting for a train when another passed by. I counted only four people on the entire train who were not wearing grey or black – and they were still wearing dark colours.
“We want to encourage people to brighten up for a day – to make the commute to work a kaleidoscope of colour.”