Lack of employment damages youth mental health
Amid the violent riots in the United Kingdom (UK), International Youth Day bears less of a celebratory feeling. Instead, it is a painful reminder that society has been failing its youth, especially regarding education and employment. And sadly, when the mainstream society suffers, the effect on the most vulnerable people is felt tenfold. Young people with mental health problems often leave school early due to widespread prejudice, while the lack of qualifications means they will likely remain unemployed for long periods of time.
On International Youth Day, Mental Health Europe would like to stress the bidirectional relationship between youth mental health problems and lack of employment. Young people with mental health problems find it exceptionally hard to find meaningful employment, while unemployed youth are in turn more likely to develop mental health problems themselves. A 2010 study by The Prince’s Trust in the UK has revealed that almost half of unemployed young people believed joblessness to have caused them mental health problems such as self-harm, panic attacks or insomnia. Moreover, the same study pointed out that more that 41 % of young people not in work, education or training claimed to have felt suicidal.
The current national budget cuts are obviously taking a toll on young people’s mental health. It is therefore crucial for European governments to rethink their strategies, as to not create a whole generation of disenfranchised youth with low aspirations.
In the meantime, Mental Health Europe is taking the lead by developing a three-year campaign for the inclusion of young people with mental health problems into the labor market. MHE believes there is no reason for young people with mental health problems not to have a chance at obtaining meaningful employment, in line with their skills and objectives.
For more information, please contact Mental Health Europe, at email@example.com or +32 2 280 04 68