Some jobless youngsters are facing “devastating” symptoms of mental illness, with one in three having comtemplated suicide, a leading youth charity said on Thursday.
The Prince’s Trust said 40 percent of jobless young people have experienced symptoms of mental illness such as suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks.
The study is based on interviews with over 2,100 people aged between 16 and 25.
Young people who have been unemployed in the long-term are also more than twice as likely as their peers to believe they have nothing to live for, the study said.
The charity called for urgent support from the government, health agencies and employers.
Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, 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.”
The charity said three quarters of long-term unemployed young people did not have someone to confide in.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, commented: “This research proves that unemployment is a public health issue.
“It is one that must be tackled urgently and it is essential that youth unemployment is added to the public health agenda.
The Trust said it would support 58,000 disadvantaged young people this year. Three in four young people supported by the charity move into work, education or training, it said.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “We understand the effects that unemployment can have and that is why we are doing everything possible to help young people into work.”