Young unemployed suicidal and without hope, says charity

Thu, 02/01/2014 - 12:52 -- nick

Young unemployed people are under severe stress leading to many feeling suicidal, a survey has found.

Charity The Prince's Trust commissioned YouGOV to find out how those aged under-25 feel about being out of work, with more than 900,000 still not in employment, education or training.

40% of youngsters have experienced the symptoms of mental illness, while even more shockingly one in three of the long-term unemployed have thought about suicide as a way out of their plight.

More than 750,000 young people feel they have nothing to live for, but those who have been out of work for more than a year are more than twice as likely to feel this way.

One respondent, Afsana, said:

"I was unemployed for nearly three years before I came to The Prince’s Trust for help. In that time, I became severely depressed and attempted suicide twice. Being out of work stripped away my self-worth and made me feel like a waste of space. After three years of unemployment, I had lost all confidence in myself. It felt like all of my hopes for the future had been sucked away."

The government's tightening sanctions system is likely to be behind some of the worsening conditions for the young unemployed, with nearly a third more having their benefits taken away last year than in 2012.

The uncertainty this creates provides fertile ground for mental illness, and young people are living under the constant shadow of destitution.

Paul Brown, Prince's Trust director, said: "We need to recognise that unemployment doesn't just lead to economic disadvantage for young people but can scar them.

"There are a very large number of people still unemployed, lacking all hope for the future. We have a duty to make sure there's something to look forward to."

The Prince's Trust will help 58,000 young people this year with advice, support, business start-up and employment advice, although the organisation has attracted criticism for its involvement in the government's failing Work Programme.

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