Jobless young people at risk of isolation, charity says

Depressed man Image copyright Thinkstock

A third of unemployed young people regularly "fall apart" emotionally, a report by the Prince's Trust says.

Based on interviews with 2,265 people, aged 16 to 25, it suggests half of unemployed young people often feel anxious about everyday situations and 46% avoid meeting new people.

Young people risk becoming "socially isolated" while unemployed, Martina Milburn from the trust said.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said youth unemployment had seen big falls.

The Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index suggests 13% of people in the UK aged between 16 and 25 often feel too anxious to leave their house.

But it said unemployed young people were more than twice as likely to feel that way.

'No confidence'

It said almost half of unemployed young people "always" or "often" felt down or depressed, while 36% said anxiety had stopped them from looking after their health, and 38% said it prevented them eating properly.

Jack, 25, from Norwich, said he had battled depression, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and low self-esteem.

"I hadn't been employed properly for years, I had no motivation to work, and couldn't see a way out of the lifestyle I was in," he said.

"I would wake up and wouldn't want to leave the house. I stopped speaking to my friends and I had absolutely no confidence speaking to people.

"If I did go to a job interview, I would be really nervous and didn't ever think I would get the job."

Case study: 'Worst times'

Image copyright Dean James

Jemma, 25, from Liverpool, suffered severely with depression - stemming from issues in her past - and after the birth of her first son felt she was completely lost.

"I remember just sitting at home and feeling so low. It's a hard thing to explain but it was one of the worst times of my life. I had a lovely little baby to love but I just couldn't shake the depression," she said.

"I won't lie there were times when I couldn't even face leaving the house and just getting out of bed was hard. I would never want to experience it again."

After getting in touch with The Prince's Trust, Jemma was invited onto the Enterprise programme, which aims to help disadvantaged young people into business.

She has since set up her own make-up artist business, adding: "I went from feeling worthless to running my own business and making others feel beautiful."

'Devastating impact'

Martina Milburn CBE, chief executive of The Prince's Trust, said "thousands" of young people often feel like "prisoners in their own homes" because of anxiety.

"Without the right support, these young people become socially isolated - struggling with day-to-day life and slipping further and further from the jobs market," she said.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said mental health issues like anxiety and depression can have a "devastating impact on young people's lives".

It could affect "relationships, self-confidence and job prospects" she added.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said the UK had seen "significant falls" in youth unemployment. adding that the government wanted to do more "as part of our long-term economic plan".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites