ResearchReport: 20-somethings experience more sick days from ill health than those in 40s

A report from Resolution Foundation highlights key mental health challenges of young people today and proposes solutions for the future.
Content Team2 months ago4 min

Younger generations in the workplace are ill far more often than older ones, says a new report from the Resolution Foundation, independent think-tank focused on improving the living standards of those on low-to-middle incomes. “Radically different” than previous decades, now workers in their 20s take more sick days and higher rates of mental health disorders. As a result, one in 20 young people were unable to be economically active.

Poor mental health leads to long-term employment struggle

Over one in three people (34%) aged 18 to 24 years old reported symptoms of mental health disorders in 2021 and 2022, including anxiety and depression. Increasing numbers of young people are being prescribed anti-depressants as a result – and struggling to stay on track with education and, later, careers.

Louise Murphy, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, pointed out that while many programs look to support those in higher education, younger demographics who don’t receive support have the longest-term impact.

“The economic consequences of poor mental health are starkest for young people who don’t go to university, with one in three young non-graduates with a common mental disorder currently workless,” Murphy said.

Between 2018 to 2022, the unemployment rate of 18-24 year olds who struggled with mental health was almost double that of those who didn’t (21% vs 13%).

How can policy change support mental health in both school and the workplace?

The report calls for increased investment to ‘help those at the sharpest end of the youth mental health crisis.’ It cites that less than half (44%) of young people in secondary schools or post-16 settings had access to Mental Health Support teams, with that number dropping to 31% in post-16 student settings.

Importantly, ‘mental health aware’ managers are called out as being absolutely vital to workplaces:

‘Mental health-aware’ managers are a must in sectors that employ large numbers of young people.

Particularly in sectors such as retail and hospitality, a third of young employees report experiencing mental health problems. So, integrating support from managers and team members is key to creating a healthy workplace for all.

Find the full Resolution Foundation report here.

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

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