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Mental health issues hit jobless

Unemployment is the cause of rising levels of mental health problems among young people, such as panic attacks and depression, a new report has revealed.

Almost half suffered from problems including insomnia and self-harm, according to a survey by The Prince's Trust, which questioned 2,170 people aged 16 to 25.

Around one in six said being jobless was as stressful as a family breakdown, while one in eight said unemployment gave them nightmares.

The study also found that young people were twice as likely to self harm or suffer panic attacks if they had been unemployed for a year.

Martina Milburn, Chief Executive of The Prince's Trust, said: "Unemployment presents a very real and frightening mental health problem for young people, and the longer they are out of work, the greater the risk."

Half of young people seeking work admitted that visiting the job centre made them feel ashamed and more than half said that job searching had left them feeling disillusioned or desperate.

The study showed a significant decline in young people's emotional health, while those not in education, employment or training were less happy across all areas of their lives. More than a third of Neets lacked a sense of identity.

The number of 16-to-24-year-olds out of work has increased by 28,000 to 943,000 in the quarter to October, one of the highest figures since records began in 1992.

The study is called the Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index.

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The Prince's Trust