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Young unemployed may be facing 'devastating' mental illness

Young unemployed people are at risk of developing 'devastating' symptoms of mental illness, according to a recent report from the Prince's Trust charity.

The report found that 40 per cent of jobless young people had faced symptoms of mental illness, including suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks.

It said that almost a third of long-term unemployed young people have thought about taking their own lives. A quarter had been prescribed anti-depressants and 24 per cent admitted to self-harming.

The findings are based on interviews with more than 2,000 16 to 25-year-olds. Some 9 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement 'I have nothing to live for'. If the figure was applied to the UK as a whole it would equate to more than 750,000 young people. For respondents who were not in employment, education or training (NEET), more than one five (21 per cent) said they had nothing to live for.

The Trust called for private and public sectors to work with like-minded charities to help young people rebuild their self-esteem and move into jobs.

Employers can help by operating apprenticeship, traineeship or work experience programmes, and by thinking about ways of facilitating young people's transition into work. Offering support to young people in the early stages of their working life, and showing awareness of the worries and concerns of young employees, can do much to foster their sense of confidence, self-worth and belonging.

Acas Mental Health Awareness for Employers training is available.

You can also view Acas guidance on Mental health in the workplace which was developed with the NHS's Mindful Employer initiative, a leading authority on managing mental health at work.

Acas specialists can advise on a range of staffing issues - see Recruitment and Retention: how Acas can help can help for more details. They can also visit organisations to diagnose issues in the workplace and tailor training and solutions to address them, such as 'Human Resource Management for Beginners' available from the Employing People - A Practical Introduction page.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.


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