Mental health problems have left UK workers jobless at record levels at a time when the economy needs it most.
Amid a grim economic outlook, falling real wages and a creaking National Health Service, there is growing evidence that young people of working age in this country are suffering from long-term health problems that keep them out of work. increase.
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According to the National Bureau of Statistics, there was a 29% increase in 16- to 24-year-olds and a 42% increase in 25- to 34-year-olds who cited long-term illness as a reason for being economically inactive. That data is for the second quarter of 2022, when compared to the same period before the pandemic.
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It’s not just young people either. Work-related stress is reported to be the biggest factor in inactivity between the ages of 50 and her 54, according to government data. Mental health problems account for a total of about 600,000 economically inactive people across all age groups, a 10% increase from pre-pandemic figures, according to ONS data.
Given the strong correlation between mental illness and unemployment, the rise of UK youth has direct economic implications. That has fueled a wage war among companies, adding to the pressure on inflation already at its highest level in 40 years.
The data also show more generally that the health of the population has deteriorated worryingly, with the youngest workers facing a recession and wages not keeping up with double-digit inflation. Hmm.
This is not just a post-pandemic phenomenon, industry experts say the phenomenon has been building over the past decade. Resolution Foundation economist Louise Murphy said health conditions among younger generations had deteriorated “pretty dramatically before the pandemic. increase.
“There is no question that COVID-19 is accelerating mental health problems in this age group,” said Marjorie Wallace, CEO of mental health charity Thane. are out of school, may be exposed to a difficult domestic atmosphere at home, and spend a lot of time on social media.”
According to data from NHS Digital, 1 in 4 UK 17-19 year olds will have a mental disorder in 2022, up from 1 in 6 the year before.
This adds to a recent study from the Public Policy Institute that showed mental health problems were the most common condition among people who were out of the workforce due to long-term illness. According to the report, young people aged 20 to 29 who are not working because of illness are 50% more likely to report mental health problems than older working-age adults.
The problem is particularly pronounced among men, according to the Solution Foundation. The number of inactive men with mental health problems will rise to 37,000 in 2021. This is a 103 percent increase from her 2006 figure and significantly higher than the level for women.
“The reason[deteriorating health]hasn’t been a big story in recent years is that it’s almost entirely outweighed by the decline in the number of young women who are less active in caring for their families,” Murphy said. said.
“But when you break it down by type of inactivity, it’s very clear.”
Both the ONS and IPPR point to overwork and poor performance in the NHS as key drivers of national ill health, including mental disorders, a problem exacerbated by longer waiting times since the pandemic. I’m adding that it’s possible.
During the first Covid lockdown in 2020, the number of GP appointments attended by people aged 15 to 24 fell by 31% compared to the previous year, according to figures from Imperial College London. This may indicate a possible increase in undiagnosed problems.
Chris Thomas, head of IPPR’s Health and Prosperity Commission, said, “It’s no surprise that people’s mental health is at stake.” And the combination of COVID-19 and the cost of living crisis has taken a toll.We are in nothing but a mental health recession.”
Wallace added that the neglect of mental health in the UK has left systems inadequate to deal with “the rising trend of young people over the last decade”.
“Psychiatric beds are declining. We’ve lost 60,000 in the last 30 years,” she said. “Many people are now forced to rely on community care, but their teams are often in disrepair, which has shown that it is not very effective.”
Of course, causality is also involved. The role of social media in causing mental health problems among young adults is well-documented, and Wallace added that social media likely played a large role in exacerbating the situation among the younger generation.
But data suggests that mental health also has a socioeconomic link. NHS Digital reports that children from families experiencing financial strain are particularly vulnerable to anxiety and stress, a problem that can be exacerbated at a time when household incomes are the most strained to remember. It shows that there is a
“The current general situation – the cost of living crisis, the conflict in Ukraine and the political uncertainty – is very precarious for young people,” said Josh Knight, Senior Policy Officer at Youth Employment UK. said.
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