“Stigma stopping young people talking about mental health”

New research by the Prince’s Trust reveals that one in four young people (24%) would not confide in someone if they were experiencing a mental health problem, with many fearing that it could affect their job prospects.

The research, funded by Macquarie, based on a survey of 2,215 respondents aged 16 to 25, found that the vast majority of young people (78%) think there is a stigma attached to mental health issues.

A third (32%) of those young people who would keep quiet about their mental health worries think admitting to a problem could affect their job prospects, 57% wouldn’t want anyone to know they were struggling and 35% fear it would make them “look weak”.

Conducted anonymously online, the research found that almost half (47%) of young people have experienced a mental health issue. These young people are:

  • Significantly less likely to feel in control of their job prospects,
  • More likely to feel too tired and stressed to cope with day to day life
  • More likely to feel they have no control over their education, training or finances than their peers.

The findings were published in part two of The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index.

Part one was published in January this year and found that the overall wellbeing of young people in the UK is at its lowest point on the Index since the study was first commissioned in 2009 – with one in four young people not  feeling in control of their lives.

Dame Martina Milburn DCVO CBE, Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust, said:

“We know issues like depression and anxiety can have a crippling impact on a young person’s aspirations and life chances, so it’s alarming to find that so many would rather live with mental health issues than talk to anyone about them.

“We must all work together to instill confidence in these young people that they won’t be stigmatised, and one of the key things we can do to help improve their mental health is to help them with their education, training and job prospects.

“Our personal development programmes give young people the self-esteem and coping skills that set them up not just for the workplace but for life.”

David Fass, CEO of Macquarie Group, EMEA said:

“It is concerning that one of the reasons young people are reluctant to talk openly about their mental health is that they think it will negatively affect their job prospects. At Macquarie, we encourage our people to bring their whole selves to work and understand that sometimes everyone needs a bit of extra support. Organisations like The Prince’s Trust can help young people to develop the skills and confidence they need to build the future they want; and that’s why, as UK employers, we are proud to support this important research.”

Matt Pearce Hafal