The Prince’s Trust have released their annual Youth Index for 2021. The results show the impact the Coronavirus pandemic is having on daily life, mental health and career aspirations but it also shows the motivation young people have to improve their futures.
You can download the full report here.
- The pandemic has taken a “devastating toll” on young people’s mental health, with the unemployed worst affected.
- One in four young people (26 per cent) admit they feel “unable to cope with life”, increasing to 40 per cent among those not in work, education or training (NEETs). Half (50 per cent) of 16 to 25-year-olds say their mental health has worsened since the start of the pandemic rising significantly for unemployed young people.
- Almost a quarter of young people (23 per cent) do not feel confident about their future work. More than half (54 per cent) say it is harder to ask for employment help as “everyone needs it at the moment.” For unemployed young people, almost half (48 per cent) say they “can’t see an end” to their unemployment and 65 per cent agree that the longer they are jobless, the worse they feel about themselves.
LIFE IN A PANDEMIC
The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on young people’s mental health, with this year’s report suggesting more young people are feeling anxious than ever in the 12-year history of the Index . This report indicates the experience of NEETs is more negative than those in work and training .
- One in four 16 to 25-year olds (26 per cent) admit they feel “unable to cope with life”, increasing to 40 per cent among NEETs
- Half (50 per cent) say their mental health has worsened since the start of the pandemic
- More than half of young people (56 per cent) “always” or “often” feel anxious, rising to 64 per cent for NEETs
- A quarter of young people (23 per cent) do not feel confident about their future work
- 65 per cent of NEETs agree that the longer they are jobless, the worse they feel about themselves
MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
For many 16 to 25-year-olds, these can be particularly turbulent years as they transition into adulthood. This report finds that living these years in a global crisis is having a detrimental effect on young people’s mental health, with many showing symptoms of poor mental wellbeing. Indeed, more young people are feeling down or depressed than at any other time in the history of the Youth Index .
Since the pandemic began:
- One in five young people (21 per cent) have experienced suicidal thoughts, rising to 28 per cent of NEETs
- Ten per cent have self-harmed, increasing to 14 per cent of NEETs
- One in five (22 per cent) have experienced panic attacks, compared to 28 per cent of NEETs
CHANGE FOR THE FUTURE
The research indicates that while the pandemic has taken its toll on young people’s mental health and wellbeing, many are also more motivated than ever to make a positive change for their future.
• Three-quarters of young people (74 per cent) agree that “my generation can change our future for the better”
• Two-thirds (66 per cent) say the political events of the year have made them want to fight for a better future, with more than half (58 per cent agreeing that they are “more motivated than ever”.
• Young people cite Black Lives Matter as the issue they have been most motivated by in the past year, followed by movements to tackle climate change
• Despite this motivation, some feel that their voices aren’t being heard. Over a third of young people (37 per cent) feel powerless to change their own future and nearly one in three (31 per cent) think that their opinions on issues don’t matter.
CAREER DREAMS VS REALITY
Young people are among the hardest hit by the economic impact of the pandemic. As competition for training and job opportunities increases, fears for future work are having a significant impact on their wellbeing.
• A quarter of young people (24 per cent) say the pandemic has destroyed their career hopes
• While 78 per cent are hopeful for a better year ahead, 60 per cent say getting a new job feels impossible now because there is so much competition
• One in five (21 per cent) feel scared that their skills and training are no longer useful