ALMOST one in five young people from the south west have experienced mental health issues as a direct result of unemployment, according to a new report.

Swindon has seen a 186 per cent increase in the number of young people claiming benefits for more than six months since the beginning of the recession. Nationally, the report found that young people who are long-term unemployed are more than twice as likely as their peers to believe they have nothing to live for.

Dermot Finch, Southern Regional Director of The Prince’s Trust, said: “Here in Swindon, 330 young people are facing long-term unemployment and there is a real danger that these young people will become hopeless, as well as jobless.

“Our research highlights that unemployed young people are significantly less likely to ask for help if they are struggling to cope. “Our message to them is this: there are organisations out there that can help you. At The Prince’s Trust, we provide vulnerable young people with sustained support, through both our long-term personal development programmes and our work within schools across the capital. If you are struggling to get back into work, education or training, you are not alone and you need not struggle alone.”

The findings also show that allmost one in five young people from the South West have experienced at least one of the following as a direct result of unemployment – suicidal thoughts, self harm, panic attacks, being prescribed anti-depressants, feelings of self-loathing, insomnia, feeling inferior to others, difficulty controlling anger, drinking large amounts of alcohol or taking drugs.

Almost one in four young people in the region said they feel like an ‘outcast’ with the report finding that the long term unemployed are significantly more likely to feel this way. The Prince’s Trust, which tackles youth unemployment, last year worked with 3,453 disadvantaged young people across the South West.

The youth charity is now calling for urgent support from health agencies and employers to fund its vital work with long-term unemployed young people battling mental health issues. With more support, the youth charity can help more young people build their self-esteem and move into work.

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