Young people within the UK are facing a decline in their mental health, feel unsupported and disconnected, according to a new report.
The Youth Voice Census Report 2021, from Youth Employment UK, collected responses from over 3,400 people across the UK, aged between 14-24, gathering feedback on a range of different topics including work, finding employment, education, and the impacts of the pandemic.
Young people in education, in work, and those looking for work, reported mental health issues such as anxiety and depression as some of their biggest concerns when asked about what barriers they faced. In fact, mental health, anxiety, and depression were all in the top 5 most frequent responses given.
Disruption was also a problem that many young people reported facing this past year, with many saying that they felt they had been disrupted ‘A Lot’ or ‘A Great Deal’. 66.4% of those in education reported they had been disrupted this much in their studies, while 40.5% of those in employment reported the same for their work.
Young people who are searching for employment have faced the most negative impacts. 56.2% stated that coronavirus had impacted their mental health ‘A Lot’ or ‘A Great Deal’, and 42.1% gave the same answers when asked how the pandemic had impacted their motivation to apply for opportunities.
This year has also seen a steep decrease in availability of careers support in universities, with half of students reporting that they did not access any. In college, 43% had access to a careers advisor, and in secondary schools, 42.7%.
The report also showed an overwhelming lack of hope from young people for their career prospects. Only 9.9% are confident that they will be able to find quality work where they live and only 25.9% believe that employers will have a positive attitude to hiring young people.
Young people also feel that they are not given adequate space, mentally and physically. 27.3% do not have a quiet area to complete school work in and 67% share the device that they use for work with more than one other person. They also do not feel that they are given space to share their experiences, with 81.9% stating that they do not get enough opportunities to share their views on important issues in their area.
The findings of the report are damning to the lack of care and attention paid to young people in the UK. Youth Employment UK’s CEO, Laura-Jane Rawlings has stated, “The findings tell us loud and clear that we can not stand by and let these issues continue; if we do not collectively take swift action to improve the services and connectivity for young people, our nation will sleepwalk into a disaster.”
The full report is available here.