Anxiety UK applauds The Prince’s Trust for highlighting mental health impact of unemployment

Today Anxiety UK praises The Prince’s Trust for shining the light on the effects of long term unemployment with the news that more than three quarters of a million unemployed young people believe they have nothing to live for, with long-term unemployed young people experiencing “devastating” symptoms of mental illness, including panic attacks.

The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index has revealed that 40 per cent of jobless young people have experienced suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks as a direct result of unemployment. Perhaps the most shocking finding from the study is that long-term unemployed young people are more than twice as likely as their peers to believe they have ‘nothing to live for.’

Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, says “More than 430,000 young people are facing long-term unemployment, and it is these young people that urgently need our help. If we fail to act, there is a real danger that these young people will become hopeless, as well as jobless.”

“With unemployment hitting young people particularly hard, it is perhaps not surprising to hear that it is having an impact on their mental health,” explains Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, the nation’s leading anxiety disorders charity. “But the level of despair felt by many thousands of young people as a direct result of being unemployed is shocking.  We join The Prince’s Trust in calling on decision makers to ensure that young people’s mental health needs are met. We also support The Prince’s Trust’s efforts in helping young people get into work, education or training as we know first hand how this can have a positive effect on a person’s mental wellbeing.”

Anxiety UK’s national helpline received nearly 13,000 calls in 2013, with many stating unemployment as a contributing factor to their anxiety. Anxiety UK provides support and services to thousands of people affected by anxiety each year, including access to reduced cost therapy.

“Receiving help for anxiety and panic early is crucial for young people in order to prevent a life-long problem with anxiety,” explains Lidbetter. “Also being out of work for long periods of time can lead to a loss in confidence, making it doubly difficult to get back into work.

“Those affected by anxiety are encouraged to speak to someone about how they are feeling, whether that be their GP, a family member, a friend or confidentially through Anxiety UK. Whilst being unemployed naturally carries with it feelings of worry and concern, young people needn’t let anxiety become something that takes over their lives.

“Anxiety and panic can be treated and managed, allowing the person to focus more positively on finding work. For example, the apprenticeship scheme can provide excellent opportunities for young people who want to get into work, as it them to learn new skills, which can act as a protective factor against future mental health difficulties.”

For more information about Anxiety UK and the services it provides to those affected by anxiety, click here.