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    Research shows that long-term illness among young people leads to a crisis in the labor market

    About 12% of people aged 20 to 30 say they are disabled because of their mental health. Photo: Aleli Dezmen/Russian Culture

    People in their 20s are more likely to say they are too ill to work than people in their 30s and 40s, amid fears that a mental health epidemic among young people is leading to a crisis workforce in the UK.

    In a new report revealing the scale of the health emergency, the Resolution Foundation think tank shows that about 6% of people in their 20s are economically inactive due to health reasons.

    According to an analysis of official data for 2022 year, a higher proportion than for any other age group under 40. The proportion of long-term ill people aged 30 to 40 hovers around 3% or 4%.

    The Resolution Foundation suggests a surge in mental health problems among young people is to blame.

    About 12% of people aged 20 to 30 say they are disabled because of their mental health, more than any other age group.

    That number has risen sharply from about 2% in 1998, when the problem was most common among workers aged 40, 50 and 60.

    The results come as the UK grapples with soaring unemployment. A total of 9.3 million people are considered economically inactive, up from 8.6 million pre-Covid. This includes millions of people living with long-term conditions.

    Joe Bibby of the Health Foundation, who worked with the Resolution Foundation to produce the report, said: “Without concerted cross-government action, we risk creating a lost generation of ill health.”

    The Resolution Foundation finds that more than a third of young people aged 18 to 24 have symptoms consistent with a common mental disorder such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, even if they do not classify themselves as disabled as a result.

    This was only true for one in four at the start of the millennium, when young people of any age group were least likely to have poor mental health.

    Today they represent the worst affected age group – a trend that dates back to Covid, but was accelerated by the pandemic.

    The rise in the number of people unable to work for health reasons is a key issue for ministers as Britain's social security bill is forecast to rise sharply.

    The number of new claims made by individuals for Personal Independence Payment due to mental illness ages 18 to 24 nearly tripled last year compared to 2016, rising from 8,000 to 23,000.

    Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundation noted that more than half a million young people aged 18 to 24 were receiving antidepressants in 2021-2022.

    Ms Bibby said: “The rising incidence of mental illness among young people is one of the biggest health challenges we currently face. This is already directly affecting the health and well-being of millions of people. It also poses a major challenge to economic and government spending through the social care system and pressure on the NHS.”

    Economists have long warned that it is vital for young people to quickly find their feet in the job market. to avoid the scars of lower lifetime earnings.

    Louise Murphy, economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “It is deeply worrying that the number of young people out of work due to ill health is significant has increased over the past two decades.”

    “Policymakers must take action to combat this and ensure people get the support they need – both for health reasons and to mitigate the serious long-term impact that spells of unemployment can have on the future earnings and career development of those affected. “.

    Research shows that people with low levels of education and mental health problems are more likely to be unemployed.

    It highlights that one in three young people who have not completed higher education and have common mental health problems are currently out of work.

    Ms Murphy said policymakers should focus on improving support services in colleges underserved and provide better facilities for those resiting exams “so that everyone has a qualification to build on.”

    It comes after the Office for National Statistics warned earlier in February that a sharp increase in the number of people not working or looking for work was holding back economic growth as the UK fell into recession at the end of the year.

    Ill mental health rises among young people, people pose a major challenge to the labor market.

    One in five people aged 18 to 24 with mental health problems were unemployed between 2018 and 2022, compared with 13 per cent of people with good mental well-being.

    Meanwhile, the number of young people who have lost their jobs due to ill health has more than doubled over the past decade, from 93,000 to 190,000.

    The report found strong overlap between people with poor health. qualifications, as well as being unemployed and struggling with their mental health.

    Four in five young people unable to work for health reasons only have qualifications at GCSE level or below, compared with a third of all over 18s until 24.

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