A new report by The Prince’s Trust has found that one in three young women facing long term unemployment experiences suicidal thoughts at some point – and one in four have self-harmed.
Researchers questioned 2,161 young adults aged 16-25 and found that 54% of young women questioned reported experiencing feelings of self-loathing, while one in six had been prescribed antidepressants.
Twice as many young women as young men admitted to having experienced suicidal thoughts.
The annual report of the trust’s Macquarie Youth Index also revealed that young women are much more likely to suffer feelings of inferiority and experience related panic attacks than young men of the same age. Compared with their male peers, the researchers found that young women are much more likely to feel tearful, stressed and anxious – and more likely than young men of the same age to lose their tempers and feel lost and insecure.
Despite research that shows rising rates of suicide among young male adults
in the UK, the Prince’s Trust report found that young women were more likely than young men to contemplate suicide, with a link between unemployment and mental health issues
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that between 2006 and 2010, there were three times as many suicides among men over the age of 15 as among women of the same age, with 4,231 suicides among men and 1,377 among women – a total of 5,608 suicides in the UK during that period.
In 2013, the mental health group CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) also said that suicide was the biggest killer of young men in the UK.
In 2011, 4,552 men committed suicide out of a total of 6,045 suicides in Britain. However, the most common age group for male suicide was 30-44 years.
The Prince’s Trust researchers are now warning that the impact of a high unemployment rate among young adults in the UK could be affecting their wellbeing and mental health, including feelings of self-esteem. The team found that the young women questioned were less likely than their male peers to feel satisfied with their employment prospects, general physical wellbeing and mental health.
Around 30% of young women questioned said they were unhappy about the state of their mental health – but asking for help was more likely to increase their feelings of failure, the researchers reported.
The Prince’s Trust is now calling on the government, health providers and employers to fund its work to help address the issues faced by young people in the UK regarding lack of jobs and the knock-on impact of this on mental health and wellbeing. The team found one in five young women experienced mental health issues as a direct result of being unemployed, while one in four felt they were without any talent.
The trust was established by the Prince of Wales to support young people – and the trust’s chief executive Martina Milburn said that unemployment was “driving young people into despair”.
“Thousands live a frightening and isolated existence – and are struggling to see a future for themselves,” said Ms Milburn.
“It is our duty to reach out to these young people now and give them the support they need to change their lives.”
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