ALMOST one-third of long-term unemployed young people in Bury could be suicidal, a new report has revealed.
A Prince’s Trust study found one in five 16 to 25-year-olds in the UK who are classified as NEET (not in employment, education or training) feel they have nothing to live for.
The head of the North Manchester Prince’s Trust Centre, based at The Rock in Bury, said long-term unemployment could “scar young people for life”.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index report, published earlier this month, found nine per cent of all the 16 to 25-year-olds it interviewed agreed with the statement: “I have nothing to live for” – rising to 21 per cent among NEETs.
The study also revealed one in three long-term unemployed young people had contemplated suicide and that they were more than twice as likely as their peers to have been prescribed anti-depressants.
One in four, 24 per cent, had self-harmed, the report found, and 40 per cent had faced symptoms of mental illness as a direct result of unemployment.
Tim Marsh, Manager of the North Manchester Prince’s Trust Centre, said support for the vulnerable was being increased in the borough with a range of programmes.
He said: “While many people will be seeking ways to improve and move forward with their lives in the New Year, it is shocking to think that hundreds of thousands of young people in the UK are feeling increasingly desperate about theirs.
“At The Prince’s Trust centre in Bury we often see many young people coming to us experiencing issues such as anxiety, depression and insomnia as a result of unemployment.
“Many of them are also long-term unemployed which can have particularly damaging effects and widespread mental health problems, sometimes scarring young people for life.”
Last year, there were 1,360 people aged 16 to 24 claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) in Bury — 28.2 per cent of all claimants in the borough. This is the fourth highest number of young claimants of all the Greater Manchester boroughs.
Councillor Rishi Shori, chairman of the Bury Health and Wellbeing Board, said the link between long-term worklessness and mental health conditions was “no surprise”.
Cllr Shori, who is also Bury Council’s cabinet member for Adult Care, Health and Housing, said more leadership was needed from central Government.
He added: “If the Government does not address this issue, not only will a generation be lost in terms of economic productivity, but more pressure will be placed on already stretched public services in dealing with the long-term negative health impacts of youth unemployment.”