Young Britons have never been unhappier, research suggests
Almost half of the young people surveyed said they did not feel they could cope well with setbacks in life. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Young people’s happiness across every single area of their lives has never been lower, research by the Prince’s Trust has found.
The charity, set up by the Prince of Wales, said the results of its annual UK Youth Index, which gauges young people’s happiness and confidence across a range of areas, from working life to mental and physical health, should “ring alarm bells”.
The national survey shows young people’s wellbeing has fallen over the last 12 months and is at its lowest level since the study was first commissioned in 2009.
Almost half said they did not feel they could cope well with setbacks in life, but despite this more than one quarter said they would not ask for help if they were feeling overwhelmed.
The index shows that young people are particularly disillusioned with the job market and are concerned about money and future prospects.
One in ten said they had lost a job through redundancy or having a contracted terminated or not renewed, or being fired, while 54% said they were worried about their finances.
The report highlights significant differences between the views held by young men and women, particularly when it comes to how they feel about their future prospects.
Young women are more likely to think a lack of self-confidence holds them back and 57% of young women worry about “not being good enough in general”, compared to 41% of men.
Nick Stace, chief executive of the youth charity, says the results show that the government and employers need to invest more in developing young people’s skills and promoting positive mental wellbeing.
He said: “It should ring alarm bells for us all that young people are feeling more despondent about their emotional health than ever before.
“This is a generation rapidly losing faith in their ability to achieve their goals in life, who are increasingly wary of and disillusioned with the jobs market and at risk of leaving a wealth of untapped potential in their wake.
“One of the most important things we can do to stem this flow is to show young people that it’s worth having high aspirations, that opportunities to earn a good living and progress in a career are out there and that they’ll be supported along the way to live, learn and earn.
“For this to happen, it is vital that government, charities and employers across the UK invest more in developing young people’s skills and in providing opportunities for them to progress in fulfilling, sustainable careers.”
The Prince’s Trust, which was founded in 1976, runs a range of employability and enterprise programmes designed to help boost young people’s confidence and skills.
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