Mental Health and Employment: A Link that Needs Attention

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January 15, 2015; TheIndependent

The Prince’s Trust, a youth charity in the UK, conducted a study with the assistance of the Macquarie Group that revealed “one in three Neets (young people ‘not in education, employment, or training’) between the ages of 16 and 25 regularly ‘fall apart’ emotionally.” Fifty-six percent of these Neets “often feel anxious about everyday situations and avoided meeting new people.” Half of respondents who were unemployed indicated that they felt down or depressed “often or always.”

In addition to the survey, the 2015 Youth Index found that overall happiness and confidence of young people had fallen one point since 2014. The index had dropped two points for Neets.

According to a September 2010 NPQ article, Michael Saltsman “contends that the early unemployment of teens puts them “at a higher risk of earning low wages, or suffering a future spell of unemployment…or more likely to drop out of high school or get involved in the criminal justice system.” At the time, he said we were creating a “lost generation” of teens.

In March 2014, NPQ published a newswire that stated, “Since the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits last December, some 2 million Americans have missed out on the unemployment assistance they had been receiving or were entitled to receive.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the unemployment rate for young adults who did not finish high school was 29.2 percent in 2013. The unemployment rate for young adults who finished high school was 17.5 percent and 12.2 percent for those with some college education. If young adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, the unemployment rate was seven percent.

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability reports, “Employment data show that individuals with serious mental illness have the lowest level of employment of any group of people with disabilities.” This indicates a cycle of unemployment and mental illness that will require intervention. According to the American Psychological Association:

“Healthy personality and emotional development during adulthood require that a person believes they are making strides to enrich themselves by contributing to their family and community. Otherwise, self-esteem is compromised during unemployment, leading to anxiety and self-doubt.”

So, there is a direct correlation between the mental health of young adults and unemployment that exists in the world. Service organizations who provide mental health support would do well to include school-age and post-graduate individuals in the work provided.—Erin Lamb


  • Thomas McFreeman

    The American people need to begin their transition from being an employee to becoming self-employed/entrepreneur. Job losses due to outsourcing and globalization will continue and the invasion of robots and machines (automation) has begun to further destroy jobs.
    Author “The Art of Debt Guerrilla Warfare, how to beat debt collectors when your back is against the wall.”

  • Erin Lamb

    Great book! I very much agree– I left my job in May so that I could own a company and be sure that I was in charge of my future. I also have a former colleague who just lost his job and is going through a lot of emotional stress while he tries to find another one, finds insurance, etc. I keep encouraging him to become an entrepreneur.