Money worries are plaguing young people and having a serious impact on their mental health, a study has found – with those in the north of England being hardest hit.
Low pay, fears over the future and a struggle to make ends meet are causing disturbing rates of depression and anxiety according to a major new report by charity Young Women’s Trust.
Nationally, 34% of young people say it’s a real struggle to make their cash last until the end of the month – but in the north east the figure creeps up to 41% while in the north west, 37% of young people admit it is difficult to stretch their money.
The charity says depression rates among people aged 18 to 30 are also alarming, especially in the north, with 29% of young people in Yorkshire and the Humber, 24% in the north east and 23 percent in the north west confessing to feeling currently depressed, compared to 18% in the east of England, 20% in south west England and 21 percent in London.
Nationally, 33% of young people feel more anxious than this time last year, but again figures are higher in the north east (42%) and north west (37%).
Dr Carole Easton OBE, Young Women’s Trust chief executive, said: “The traditional stereotype of youthful swagger and optimism seems to have been replaced by worry and anxiety. Perhaps this is not surprising given that young people are facing serious financial troubles and uncertainty about their future.
“Low pay, insecure work and housing pressures are leaving young people struggling to make ends meet, which is having a terrible impact on their mental health.”
More than half of young people in the north east, north west and Yorkshire say they are worried about their future, compared to 48% nationally.
The findings were revealed in a Populus Data Solutions survey of 4,000 young people for Young Women’s Trust which supports young women on low or no pay.
Their report ‘It’s still a rich man’s world’ shows that despite the #MeToo movement and reforms including gender pay gap reporting, millions of women continue to lose out in the workplace – and mental health inequalities have got worse.
A a third of young women do not know how to report sexual harassment at work and a quarter would be reluctant to do so for fear of losing their job. Despite the introduction of gender pay gap reporting, one in five young women say they are illegally paid less than their male colleagues for the same work.
Young women remain more likely to be on low pay, job insecurity has increased, and debt levels have risen.
More than a quarter say their financial situation has got worse in the past year. As a result, young women’s mental health concerns are skyrocketing, with four in 10 saying they are worried about their mental health.
Easton added: “Young women in particular are concerned about their mental health, as huge numbers still face discrimination, sexual harassment and pay gaps at work.
“We are used to each generation having more opportunities than the last, but there is a feeling now that things are going backwards. These are very worrying times for young people – especially young women.
“A concerted effort is needed from government and employers to provide young people with security and hope for the future, redress gender inequality at work and help manage the growing mental health crisis among young people.”