Deteriorating Mental Health and Youth Employment at Risk, Research Suggests

Deteriorating Mental Health and Youth Employment at Risk, Research Suggests


Intuitive knowledge tells us that the youth today is very overburdened. The rising competition, the policy changes, and the rapid intake of content and information have complicated even the smallest aspects of our lives. This adds to an already existing list of stressors that have an impact on the youth. Studies have indicated rising percentages of stress in Indians as of late, rising almost up to 77%.

Research done by the Resolution Foundation has shown greatly worrying results regarding mental health concerns prevalent in the youth.  The Resolution Foundation was founded in 2005 by Clive Cowdery and is an independent research institute that focuses on research in the areas of social policy, military, technology, political strategy and so on. It has its headquarters based in London, United Kingdom. It aims at assessing the living conditions and standards of people in the UK and then formulating policies to improve this.

The report was funded by the Health Foundation and is a product of three years of extensive research. Dimensions added to the assessment of mental health in youth included insecurity of a job, the prevalence of low hours, and the connection between mental health, employment, and geography. The quantitative analysis was followed by three focus groups to discuss possible policy changes to change the current trend and improve the working conditions and mental health of the youth.

Research Findings Indicate

The publication reported astonishing results that require our immediate attention. The key findings were:

  • Around 34% of young individuals within the age group of 18-24 were reported to be suffering from disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar which fall within common mental disorders. This statistic is equivalent to one in three individuals. This is a huge increase from previous years, for instance, in 2000, this was barely 24%. This has resulted in the prescription of antidepressants for more than 500,000 youth in the year 2021-22.
  • According to data gathered between 2018 and 2022, 13% of mentally healthy individuals between the age group of 18-24 years were workless. However, 21% of the young people with mental health problems were workless.
  • Moreover, students studying in universities show much higher levels of mental health concerns than those who are working and those who are out of work. Up to 37% of the students were inflicted with some sort of common mental disorder.
  • Most at a disadvantage are those who are not graduates and have mental health problems. One in three such individuals are jobless whereas only 17% of graduates with mental health concerns were jobless and only 19% of non-graduates without mental health concerns were workless.
  • What is upsetting is that four in five people, which is approximately 79%, who lie within this age group and are workless due to their mental health, also only have their educational qualifications at the GCSE level which is equivalent to 10th grade in India or below.
  • Absenteeism comes with mental illness in students. About 12% of 11-16 year olds, with mental health concerns, tend to miss more classes than those who are mentally healthy (2%) in 2023.

“Poor mental health can blight young people’s experience of education” says the researchers, McCurdy and Murphy. Seeing these rising statistics, we must find ways to cope with this.

Read More: Youth Employment in the UK Held Back by Mental Health Issues

Implications and Policy Changes

The rising mental health concerns are not just an issue of the ongoing health crisis but are also beginning to way into the economic stability of individuals as well which affects not just quality of life but also survival. Given the lesser rate of employment and the higher levels of mental health concerns in educational institutions, the foundation has asserted for certain changes to be met.

Furthermore, calls were made to have mental health facilities be available and accessible in institutions of compulsory education, especially from the 6th grade till the college level. As per reports in 2023, less than half of schools had some sort of mental health counselling facilities available for students. This figure was much lower in various universities, with the prevalence dropping to 13% from 44% in schools.

Given the results that indicate difficulties faced by students with qualifications lower than GCSE and mental health concerns when applying for employment, the researchers have asserted policies that will ensure that fewer people leave without their basic qualification so that despite the inaccessibility to mental health facilities, they can still have some hope of acquiring a job.

Previous research done in the early 2000s has reported that people feel more productive when they feel their concerns are being seen by the employer. Thus, in summation, the Foundation asserts that companies should be mindful and aware of those suffering from common mental health disorders. Furthermore, they ideate the organization of mental health workshops for employers which can assist them in making the workplace a better place for all.

References +
  • Charlie McCurdy, Louise Murphy. (2024, February 26). We’ve only just begun • Resolution Foundation. Resolution Foundation.
  • Efforts to tackle Britain’s epidemic of poor mental health should focus on lower-qualified young people • Resolution Foundation. (2024, February 23). Resolution Foundation.
  • Wikipedia contributors. (2024b, February 22). Think tank – Wikipedia.
  • DHNS, & DHNS. (2023, March 6). 24% of Indians are struggling with stress: Report. Deccan Herald.


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