A “frightening” wave of austerity-stoked chronic depression is battering young people across the country, researchers found today.
The Prince’s Youth Trust found that 27 per cent of working young people are “always” or “often” depressed – while the figure rocketed to 48 per cent for those not in paid work, education or training.
More than one in 10 young people said they felt unable to cope with day-to-day life, rising to a fifth of those with neither employment, education or training, according to the trust’s annual Youth Index.
Pollsters who surveyed more than 2,000 16-to-25-year-olds found a clear link to the economic crisis.
More than a quarter said they believed it had “permanently damaged” their career prospects – and a fifth of those out of work said they believed their self-confidence would never fully recover.
Youth unemployment currently hovers around 20 per cent, with the total number expected to reach more than a million again this year.
Those in work continue to see hours, pay and conditions dwindling.
Official figures in November showed that of the 316,000 new jobs since 2011, more than two-thirds were part-time – with an average 15.8 hours paying just £155 a week.
Prince’s Trust chief executive Martina Milburn said it was often those from the most vulnerable backgrounds who found it hardest to get work, creating a “demoralising downward spiral.”
“A frightening number of unemployed young people feel unable to cope – and it is particularly tough for those who don’t have a support network,” she said.
The survey follows an alarming study in August directly attributing more than 1,000 suicides since 2008 to the economic crisis.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool found 846 men and 155 women took their lives during the last four years over and above pre-recession trends – meaning around two-fifths of the rise in suicides among men could be attributed to rising unemployment.
Suicidal protests are also on the rise. In December an 18-year-old Torbay man set himself on fire after being refused housing, while a Birmingham man set himself alight outside a jobcentre in June.