01/02/2012 01:14 GMT | Updated 23/02/2012 17:32 GMT

Economic Downturn Turning Country's Youth To Drink And Depression

There is growing concern over the mental health of young people after figures show that nearly half of under-24s are suffering from stress because of the economic downturn with many turning to drink.

A poll published by the website,, reveals that more than a third of people are feel stressed by the economic downturn, rising to 43% of those aged between 18 to 24.

Some 24% of under-25s also admit to drinking more heavily since the start of the economic crisis, compared to just 14% of all adults.

More than 2,000 people took part in the poll which also found that a lack of cash has made under-25s feel isolated with 46% of that age group admitting they can no longer afford to go out socially, compared to 34% of the general population. This may also account for the 12% of that segment of the population feeling lonelier as a result of the economic crisis while 57% of this age group have gained or lost weight.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, one of the GP authors at, said: "The research presents a worrying picture of youth health.

"This group are the least likely to visit their GP to discuss health concerns yet are being badly hit, mentally and physically, by the economic downturn.

"Taking time out to address health worries is not a priority for young people and is slipping down the nation's priority list as a whole.

"With things not set to improve any time soon, we could be facing real health problems before long."

Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns Policy and Participation at YoungMinds, a charity working with children and young people, said the survey painted a "grim picture" for the country's youth.

"This bleak outlook is understandably leading to concerns about the mental health of young people," she said.

"The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030 more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem yet investment in mental health remains sadly lacking, we are sitting on a mental health timebomb and urgent action is needed to invest in mental health support services for young people.

Official figures for England released last November showed the number of young people not in education, employment or training (Neet) has risen to a record level.

There were 1,163,000 people aged 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training, according to the most recent quarterly figures - almost one in five young people.

In some towns and cities, the figure is one in four.

"Young people today face pressures like never before, the economic downturn has simply exacerbated the situation," Russell continued.

"With zero job prospects, university increasingly financially unviable and ever increasing pressure to follow the latest consumer trends this research reflects a grim picture for young people."

Meanwhile, the pressure group, Alcohol Concern, blamed the price of alcohol for the problems the survey revealed as well as other factors.

Emily Robinson, Alcohol Concern's Director of Campaigns, told The Huffington Post: "Stress can be a factor as to why some people might start drinking heavily.

"We also know that young people are heavily influenced by price when it comes to drinking and tend to drink cheaper alcoholic drinks. That is why we're calling on the government to implement a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit as part of their forthcoming alcohol strategy. This would take the average price of a bottle of vodka to £14."

The survey for comes as it reveals that searches for "depression" on the website have doubled in the last two years.

Around 2,800 people a week download information on depression while requests for stress tips have increased.

Neil Laycock, managing director of, agreed that the financial crisis was not helping people's wellbeing.

"The financial crisis means we have less time, less money and more worry - factors not helpful to our health," he said.

"The volume and changing nature of searches we've witnessed on the site suggested the connection. This research confirmed it. It also revealed something very important - that it's wrong to assume who may or may not be affected."