More than one in ten young people in Birmingham feel life is not worth living, according to an alarming new survey.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index also found almost one in five people, 19 per cent, of 16 to 25-year-olds had experienced mental health issues because of unemployment.
The poll claimed 13 per cent of those in that age group believed life was not worth living – far higher than the national average of nine per cent.
It also found 18 per cent of 16 to 25-year-olds from Birmingham felt worthless and 39 per cent said they always or often felt down or depressed.
Both figures were again above the national average.
Matt McBryde, head of volunteering and secondments at the Prince’s Trust in Central England, said: “The statistics speak for themselves. It is quite scary so many young people seem to be affected by these issues.
“A lot of it can come down to the fact that unemployment can affect people in more ways than we thought.”
The charity’s sixth annual Youth Index polled 2,161 16-to-25-year-olds across the UK, gauging their wellbeing across a range of areas, from family life to physical health.
In the wake of the report, the Trust called for more government support to fund its work to help get unemployed young people into work.
And it pledged to increase its support for young people through its Get Started programme, which targets the long-term unemployed. Mr McBryde said: “Our focus is about getting them into a job or further training.
“It’s about getting young people into something as a starting point, things young people would find interesting in the hope we can get some engagement where they can get the skills to become economically independent.
“We are seeing a lot of interest from employers wanting to engage with us and young people.
“They can provide work placements and, if young people make their mark, they can be offered jobs. On the minus side, the number of young people unemployed for a over a year in the 18 to 25 age range has doubled since the economic downturn.
“That’s a scary situation and something we need to reduce – these guys are our future. We are seeing really big employers chatting to us but the country still has a hardcore of long-term unemployed young people.”
The Post reported last month that unemployment had fallen in the West Midlands by 0.9 per cent in the last quarter, with a rate of 8.8 per cent in the region.
However, there are pockets, particularly in Birmingham, where the rate is far higher, and where youth unemployment is more prevalent.
The Prince’s Trust has urged disaffected young people to make contact. John O’Reilly, its regional director in central England, said: “Our research highlights that unemployed young people are significantly less likely to ask for help if they are struggling to cope.
“But organisations like the Prince’s Trust support young people every day, helping them back into work, education or training. They are not alone and they need not struggle alone.”