According to the study carried out by the Prince’s Trust, joblessness triggers mental health problems among almost half of the unemployed youths aged between 16 and 25, the daily Belfast Telegraph reported.
More than one fifth of the Northern Ireland youths have admitted to self-harming, one in three suffered from insomnia and one fifth of those interviewed said they had panic attacks, the study found.
The Macquarie Youth Index, which interviewed 2,170 people across the UK, found that 15 percent of youths in Northern Ireland feel depressed ‘all’ or ‘most’ of the time, while 63 percent of those working said their job was an important part of their identity.
“I was in the depths of despair and depression. It’s very isolating not to have work. You have no reason to get up in the morning and you feel like you have no purpose in life,” said Claire Conway from Omagh, who suffered from depression when she lost her job in 2002 at the age of 22.
“You block yourself off from friends, especially the people who are working,” she added.
This was the third annual report to be published by the Prince’s Trust and it recorded the most significant decline in young people’s emotional health.
“Unemployment presents a very real and frightening mental health problem for young people in Northern Ireland – and the longer they are out of work, the greater the risk,” said Ian Jeffers, director of the trust in Northern Ireland