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Young people are in danger of giving up on their futures and on themselves, with a quarter saying they feel unable to cope with life, one of the UK’s leading charities has said.
The Prince’s Trust long-running annual survey of young people’s happiness and confidence returned the worst findings in its 12-year history.
“The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on young people’s mental health and wellbeing,” said Jonathan Townsend, the trust’s UK chief executive. “Many believe they are missing out on being young, and sadly we know that the impact of the pandemic on their employment prospects and overall wellbeing could continue far into their futures.”
Half of the young people interviewed by YouGov for the trust’s 2020 Youth Index, carried out in partnership with Tesco, said current political and economic events had affected their mental health. More than half said they always or often felt anxious, rising to 64% among those not in work, education or training (Neet).
More than one in four said they had felt unable to cope with life since the start of the pandemic, increasing to 40% of Neet young people. Half of 16- to 25-year-olds said their mental health had worsened since the start of the pandemic.
“At this critical time we need businesses, government and individuals to work with us to help as many vulnerable young people as possible,” said Townsend. “It is only by working together that we can stop this generation of young people giving up on their futures – and themselves.”
Adam, 20, from Lancashire, lost his job in a factory last March because of the impact of coronavirus. He then found out he had to shield because of his immunosuppressant medication for eczema.
“The pandemic has been hard because I couldn’t see any friends, family or my partner. I couldn’t even go out to exercise at first, so I was just in bed all day feeling depressed,” he said.
“In June and July it got worse, I was withdrawing from the world. I felt alone and wasn’t doing anything. I don’t talk to my friends as much as I used to, we speak very rarely. I’m feeling isolated, as I still can’t really go out because I’m high risk, so I’m indoors most of the day.”
Emma Taylor, the UK people director at Tesco, said: “The findings of this year’s Youth Index highlight how vital it is to support young people to develop skills and build their confidence, to support their future. In these extraordinarily difficult times, supporting young people’s mental health is paramount.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: One in four UK young people have felt ‘unable to cope’ in pandemic | Society