Resolution Foundation warns of serious mental health impact of Covid-19 on young people

A new report from the Resolution Foundation titled ‘Double Trouble’ has found that ,when compared to other age groups, young people have been disproportionately affected during the pandemic in respect of both economic security and mental health.

The report warns that the pandemic has exaggerated long term trends and exacerbated existing concerns meaning that without policy action, the labour market and mental health impacts of the pandemic could persist, driving down young people’s living standards in the process.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • In 2000, 24 per cent of 18-24-year-olds had a common mental disorder (CMD), the lowest rate of any age group. By 2018-2019, that figure had grown to 30 per cent, with young people the age group most likely to have a mental health problem.
  • On the eve of the crisis, four-in-ten (40 per cent) 18-24-year-olds who were unemployed had a CMD, compared to three-in-ten (30 per cent) in insecure work and 27 per cent in secure forms of employment.
  • In January 2021, one-in-five (19 per cent) 18-24-year-olds who were in work before the crisis were no longer working, compared to 4 per cent of 25-54-year-olds and 11 per cent of 55-65-year-olds. And among those young people in insecure work pre-crisis, the share no longer working by January rose to 36 per cent.
  • Half (51 per cent) of 18-24-year-olds had mental health problems in April 2020, up from the 30 per cent in the pre-crisis period and the highest rate for any age group at the outset of the pandemic.
  • In January 2021, more than one-in-four (26 per cent) 18-24-year-olds who had not had a mental health condition before the crisis had a ‘new’ CMD. For 18-21-year-olds, the figure stood at three-in-ten (30 per cent).
  • Young people with a mental health condition in 2010-2011 (when unemployment was high following the financial crisis) were more likely to be out of work four years on than those without, at 14 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.

To see the full report and additional commentary from the Resolution Foundation, click here.