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Youth Index 2017

Today we publish The Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index for 2017. Based on a YouGov survey, the report takes an in-depth look into the views and outlooks of young people aged 16 to 25. 

Connor Burgess

Our 2017 Macquarie Youth Index reveals that young people's happiness and wellbeing are at their lowest levels since the study was first commissioned in 2009.

This report reveals that more than a quarter of young people do not feel in control of their lives, and that a crisis of confidence in their own abilities and future prospects is preventing them from realising their true potential.

Equally shocking is that many young people feel trapped by their situation, with almost a fifth saying they do not have the ability to change their circumstances if they want to. Things are even worse for young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET), who are more likely to be unhappy and lacking in self-belief than those who are.

The Index takes an in-depth look into the views and outlooks of young people aged 16 to 25. It gauges young people’s feelings about their lives today and their feelings about the future.

Mental health:

  • 78% of young people think there is a stigma attached to mental health issues
  • 24% of young people would not confide in someone if they thought they were experiencing a mental health problem 
  • 32% of young people who wouldn't talk about mental health worries think that admitting to a mental health problem could affect their future job prospects 
  • 42% of young people who said they ahve experienced a mental health problem said they don't feel in control of their job prospects
  • 56% of young people who said they have experienced a mental health problem didn't believe in themselves when they were at school

Mental health and feeling in control:

Feeling in control with the power to shape their own lives impacts positively on a young person’s mental health and overall outlook. However, the research finds that young people today are feeling increasingly unable to control their futures, and those who have experienced a mental health problem are even more likely to feel anxious about their circumstances.

Other key findings:

  • More than a quarter of young people (28 per cent) do not feel in control of their lives
  • A third of young people (36 per cent) do not feel in control of their job prospects
  • More than one in ten (16 per cent) think their life will amount to nothing, no matter how hard they try
  • A fifth of young people (18 per cent) do not think they have the ability to change their circumstances if they want to
  • The situation is even worse for NEET young people, who are more likely to feel worried about their circumstances and future
  • 34 per cent of young people think they will have a worse standard of living than their parents
  • 42 per cent of young people feel traditional goals like owning a house or getting a steady job are unrealistic

“The potential consequences of failing to help these young people who are so clearly in need of support have huge implications for our nation’s future. We simply cannot allow them to be paralysed by their circumstances and self-doubt. In the year ahead, we aim to help 60,000 vulnerable young people to believe in themselves again and take steps towards a brighter future, but we will need support from every quarter in order to reach our target. By working with us, you can be a part of the solution to the issues raised in this report and help young people to regain control of their lives.”

Dame Martina Milburn DCVO CBE

Chief Executive

The Prince’s Trust

Youth Index 2017 (pdf, 1mb)

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