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People in their 20s more likely to be out of work due to ill health than those in their 40s

YOUNG adults in their early 20s are more likely to be out of work due to ill health than those in their 40s, a damning study finds.

The Resolution Foundation study, funded by the Health Foundation and published today calls for urgent action to tackle Britain’s growing mental health crisis.

Younger adults with mental health problems can have their chances of a good education blighted and end up out of work or going into low-paid jobs, the charity found.

Young women are particularly affected and are one-and-a-half times more likely to experience poor mental health than young men.

The research also looked at the skills levels of young adults who are not working because of ill health.

It found that 79 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds who are “workless” due to ill health only have qualifications at GCSE level or below, compared with a third of all people in that age group.

The study concludes that efforts to tackle Britain’s epidemic of poor mental health should focus on lower-qualified young people.

It also calls for greater mental health support in colleges and sixth forms and for more to be done to ensure fewer people leave compulsory education with low qualification levels.

Senior economist at the Resolution Foundation Louise Murphy said: “Attention on this issue has tended to focus on higher education. But what should most worry us is when poor mental health comes together with poor education outcomes.

“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.

“To address this mental health crisis, we need better support services in currently underserved colleges,and much better provision for those resitting exams, so that everyone has qualifications to build on.”

Director of health at the Health Foundation Jo Bibby said: “Policymakers need to focus on the building blocks of health such as good employment and education to ensure young people get the support they need and have the tools to move through the world as adults.

“Without concerted cross-government action, we risk creating a lost generation due to ill health.”

The government was contacted for comment.

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