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Unemployment a mental health hazard?

December 30, 2010
by News release
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According to a recent study conducted Prince's Trust, a UK-based youth charity, young people are suffering increased mental health problems—such as panic attacks, self loathing and depression-due to unemployment.

The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index reveals that 48 percent of unemployed young people claim that their job status has caused problems including self harm and insomnia. Around 16 percent of young people have found unemployment as stressful as a family breakdown, while 12 percent claim their joblessness has given them nightmares.

The research, based on interviews with 2,170 16-to-25-year-olds, also shows how young people are twice as likely to self harm or suffer panic attacks a year into unemployment.

"Unemployment presents a very real and frightening mental health problem for young people–and the longer they are out of work, the greater the risk," noted Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust.

The third annual Youth Index sees the index number at its lowest point since the study was launched, with the most significant decline around young people's emotional health. It also shows how those who are not in employment, education or training are significantly less happy across all areas of their lives.

More than one third of those not employed, in education or in training, also reported that they lack a sense of identity. The figure rises to 47 percent for those out of work a year or longer. Almost two thirds of employed young people said they believe their job is an important part of their identity.

The study also found that 34 percent of unemployed young people feel isolated all or most of the time, increasing to 45 percent for those who have been out of work for a year or longer. In addition, 27 percent admitted that being out of work has resulted in them going longer than a week without leaving their home.

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