A quarter of young people "unable to cope" with pandemic life

Updated: Aug 23


More than 1 in 4 young adults are struggling with life during the Coronavirus pandemic, while 1 in 2 report a worsening of their mental health.


Revealed through a new survey from The Prince's Trust, the figures highlight the toll the past 12 months have had on young people in the UK.


Of 2,180 respondents, 26% of 16 to 25-year-olds said they felt "unable to cope with life"– a figure which increased to 40% in those not in work or education.


Unemployed young adults were significantly more likely to feel anxious or depressed too, while 50% of all respondents report a worsening of their mental health.


The percentages are some of the highest ever reported in the 12-year history of the Prince's Trust Youth Index which measures happiness and confidence levels in young people.


This was particularly the case for anxiety where 56% of young adults "always" or "often" felt anxious, increasing to 64% for the unemployed.

"The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on young people’s mental health and wellbeing," said Jonathan Townsend, UK Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust. "They face a disrupted education, a shrinking jobs market and isolation from their friends and loved ones, and as a result, too many are losing all hope for the future.


"As ever, it is unemployed young people – and those with few qualifications and little confidence – who have an even more negative experience."


The report also revealed that a quarter (23%) of young people do not feel confident about their future career, with 48% of the unemployed saying they "can’t see an end" to their working status.


Read more: Social support key to reducing mental health issues in young adults



"At this critical time, we need businesses, government, and individuals to work with us to help as many vulnerable young people as possible," added Townsend. "It is only by working together that we can stop this generation of young people giving up on their futures – and themselves."


With restrictions on social contact and social mobility imposed under lockdown, combined with a lack of social support, young adults have always been a demographic of particular concern with regards to mental wellbeing.


One particular sub-demographic, students, has been shown to be struggling during the pandemic with more than 1 in 2 reporting a worsening in mental health.


To read the full Prince's Trust Youth Index report, click here.