Unemployed youth suffer health effects

Young, depressed & unemployed.   Photo: Rob Harding

Young, depressed & unemployed. Photo: Rob Harding

Unemployed young people suffering the effects of the recession could face a lifetime of poorer health and lower happiness, a report warned this week.

The Prince’s Trust YouGov Youth Index revealed that those out of work are significantly less happy with their health, friendships and family life than those in work.

One in ten young people (11 per cent) claim that unemployment drove them to drugs or alcohol. Unemployed young people are also more likely to feel ashamed, rejected and unloved more of the time.

Boroughs along the East London line are suffering from some of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. Tower Hamlets has the highest level of youth unemployment in the area; in Hackney there are 37 claimants for every new job according to The Hackney Unemployed Workers’ Group; Lewisham and Tower Hamlets do not fall far behind.

Matt Dobson, a spokesman for Youth Fight For Jobs said: “Young unemployed people get frustrated and feel there is no place for them in the community, especially with the higher costs of university transport and other necessary every day costs.”

Some boroughs such as Lewisham have schemes to place young people in jobs, but according to Dobson they are flawed and do not provide real job opportunities.

Mr Dobson added: “Job schemes should create real jobs with real contracts and decent wages. Companies are using the scheme as a tool to drive salaries down. The jobs offered are usually temporary for six months with very few ending in a renewed contract.”

Ian Page, Lewisham Socialist Party councillor for Telegraph Hill ward said: “The council has made big publicity about the scheme but the numbers of jobs available are extremely low. These are not proper jobs because they are low pay and temporary. They should be made permanent with full trade union employment rights.”

The study found that a quarter of young people who are or have been unemployed say that their joblessness caused arguments with family members while 28 per cent claim that unemployment caused them to exercise less, with around one in six of those currently out of work getting no exercise at all.

Leading economist Professor David Blanchflower claimed that unemployment has a knock-on effect on a young person’s self-esteem, their emotional stability and overall wellbeing. The longer the period a young person is unemployed, the more likely they are to experience this psychological scarring.

“This means an unhappy and debilitated generation of young people who, as a result, becomes decreasingly likely to find work in the future,” he said.

Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust said: “The implications of youth unemployment stretch beyond the dole queue.”

“The emotional effects on young people are profound, long-term and can become irreversible. We must act now to prevent a lost generation of young people before it is too late.”

One Response

  1. Julia February 4, 2012

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