Prince’s Trust: One in ten young people feel life is meaningless

One in ten young people in Britain think life is not worth living, a report published today has claimed.

Of 2,000 16- to 25-year-olds surveyed for the Prince’s Trust, 12% said their life was “meaningless”, whilst 14% thought “life has no purpose”. One in five felt like crying “often” or “always” and nearly half (47%) felt regularly stressed.

The worst affected were those not in education, employment or training (Neets). Thirty seven per cent of Neets polled claimed to be down or depressed compared to 27% of all those surveyed by polling body YouGov.

No sense of community

Further reasons for unhappiness included feeling no sense of community, not feeling safe to walk around at night and not having anything to do. Having a dead-end job was also cited as a major contributing factor. Prince’s Trust chief executive Martina Milburn said the findings revealed “an increasingly vulnerable generation”.

However, over 70% of all those surveyed and 60% of Neets said they felt happy with life.

Personal relationships were seen as being most important to young people’s wellbeing. Fifty six per cent cited family relationships and 53% friendship when asked to name the most important factors in their overall wellbeing.

Almost a third thought good emotional health was also important to their well-being.


Money and work were also considered to be a high priority, amid evidence that young people are likely to be hit hard by the current recession. Research published by the Prince’s Trust and the University of Sheffield in November 2008 predicted that were unemployment to reach three million this year, at least 40% of those out of work (1.25m) would be under 25.

The Prince’s Trust also claimed youth unemployment is costing Britain up to £1m a day in lost productivity.

The survey was published as the Prince’s Trust finalised plans to increase the scope of its Team programme, which provides 12-week support schemes for unemployed young people including work experience, community work and team-building exercises.

Mental health problems

Currently the programme aims to build self-esteem and motivation, but from this year team leaders, who run the schemes, will be trained in identifying mental health problems in young people.

The Prince’s Trust says that one in five young people will develop some kind of mental illness and many more will suffer from a lack of confidence and poor support networks at some point in their youth.

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