As this year’s World Mental Health Day puts the focus on youth wellbeing, a major survey by Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, finds that half of young women say their job has damaged their mental health.
The Populus Data Solutions survey of 4,000 young people shows that a quarter say their mental health has got worse in the past year, with work, financial worries and housing difficulties having the most impact.
Work-related mental health concerns are far higher among young women than young men. 52 per cent of women age 18 to 30 say that work has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 42 per cent of young men. 51 per cent of young women cite financial worries and 27 per cent housing difficulties as other reasons for worsening mental health.
Equally, poor mental health is impacting young people’s ability to work. One in five say that their mental health has affected their ability to stay in a job and a third say that it has prevented them seeking work.
The research also shows that young people are still significantly less likely to reach out to professional services for help with their mental health, compared to their physical health. While half would make a doctor their first port of call for physical health, just one in four would do the same for mental health. In total, 81 per cent of young people included the doctor’s on their list of support for physical health, but just 53 per cent did the same for mental health.
Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: “At Young Women’s Trust we’re hearing from huge numbers of young women who are facing financial challenges due to unemployment, low pay and insecure work. We know too that workplace discrimination, including the gender pay gap and sexual harassment, is rife. As a result, young women’s mental health concerns are skyrocketing.
“We need urgent action to improve young women’s prospects. Alongside high-quality and timely mental health support, providing stable jobs would benefit young women, businesses and the economy.”
Young Women’s Trust is gathering examples of best practice on workplace mental health to support employers to do more.