Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
7:28 PM 29th January 2024

A Third Of 16-25 Year Olds In Yorkshire And The Humber Worried Their Mental Health Will Stop Them Achieving Career Goals


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
The Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index 2024, released today, finds that a third (34 per cent) of 16–25-year-olds in Yorkshire and the Humber are worried their mental health will stop them achieving their career goals.
The Youth Index is an annual research report based on a YouGov survey of 2,239 16- to 25-year-olds across the UK, gauging young people’s confidence and happiness across a range of areas, from their physical and mental health to money and working life.

This year’s research shows the overall wellbeing of young people remains low, with happiness and confidence in mental health seeing the biggest decrease compared to other factors over the 15-year history of the research. Happiness in work, education, qualifications and money are at all-time lows.

In Yorkshire and the Humber, over a fifth (22 per cent) of young people report a mental health issue has stopped them applying for a job or attending an interview (11 per cent) during the last 12 months, with 22 per cent missing school or work in the past year due to their mental health. The report finds that two fifths (40 per cent) of 16 to 25-year-olds in Yorkshire and the Humber have experienced a mental health problem, while a fifth (20 per cent) report their mental health has got worse in the last year.

The findings suggest that the rising cost of living and economic uncertainty is exacerbating mental health issues and its impacts, as 31 per cent of young people say that worrying about money has made their mental health much worse. Over two fifths (49 per cent) in Yorkshire and the Humber state the cost of living crisis has had a worse impact on their life than the pandemic. A third (34 per cent) of young people say thinking about money depresses or stresses them, with over half (54 per cent) worrying that the cost of living crisis means they'll never be financially secure.

Daniel, 25 from Leeds, was unemployed for four years after leaving college. Struggling with low confidence and mental health, he turned to The Prince’s Trust and after completing the Get into Retail with Marks & Spencer programme, he is thriving as a Sales Assistant.

Daniel said:
“After leaving education I felt very lost in life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I didn’t feel like I had anything going for me. My mental health was in a bad place, which made me feel I couldn’t get a job. I needed support but I didn’t know where to get it.

“The longer I was out of work, the harder it felt to go back into it, and the worse my mental health got.”
After completing The Prince’s Trust course, Daniel was offered a permanent position at Marks & Spencer.

“Before the course I was someone who never thought I could get a job, but now I believe in myself and feel positive about the future again. Going to work gives me a sense of purpose, it helped me grow as a person and it has improved my mental health.

“When I was unemployed, I struggled financially so often stayed at home and didn’t go out, which made my mental health worse. But being in a job I finally have disposable income and am now saving up to move out and live independently.”

Lucy Gifford, Head of Service Delivery for Yorkshire and the Humber, at The Prince’s Trust said:
“This year’s report shows that rising rates of poor mental health are significantly impacting young people’s education and early careers in Yorkshire and the Humber.

“With unemployed 16 – 25-year-olds consistently reporting the worst overall wellbeing, it also shows us – and young people tell us - that being in employment is good for their mental health, gives their lives stability and financial security, and enables them to feel positive about their future.

“We must work together to address this trap, where poor mental health and employment struggles exacerbate each other, or risk it closing in on a generation. Urgent support is needed from partners, governments and employers, to help young people break this cycle.”

In Yorkshire and the Humber, over two fifths (46 per cent) worry about not having the right skills and qualifications, or the right experience (59 per cent) to get a job in the future. Over two fifths (41 per cent) of young people don't feel in control of their future. They also report not feeling confident they will achieve their goals in life (27 per cent) and over a fifth (24 per cent) say they feel like they will fail in life.

Young people, in Yorkshire and the Humber, report that having a job is good for their mental health (58 per cent), gives them a sense of purpose in life (62 per cent), and enables them to feel confident about their future (67 per cent). Seventy-one per cent report that having a job gives them the financial stability they need and will help get them through the cost of living crisis (65 per cent).

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of young people in Yorkshire and the Humber feel determined to achieve their goals in life. Thirty per cent report help with securing work experience or training would help them achieve their career ambitions. This is followed by help with CV and interview skills (30 per cent), help to build skills for work (27 per cent), confidence (25 per cent), and improve their qualifications (25 per cent).

The Prince’s Trust helps tens of thousands of young people in each year to build the confidence and skills they need to realise their potential. Three in four young people on Prince’s Trust programmes move into work, education or training. 

NatWest have worked in partnership with The Prince’s Trust for over 20 years, helping thousands of young people to start their own businesses, develop skills for employment and supported hundreds of staff to volunteer with young people across the UK.