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    Are young people suffering a mental health crisis?

    Are young people suffering a mental health crisis?

    Posted on March 13th, 2024

    When comparing the working habits of two generations, you’d be forgiven for assuming that as we age and our health naturally declines, our ability to work may be affected. Therefore, someone in their 40s would be more likely to be out of work due to ill health, in comparison to someone in their 20s. But a recent study has shown this is not the case.

    A report from the independent think-tank, Resolution Foundation, has found that people in their early 20s are more likely to not be working due to ill health, compared to people in their early 40s.

    Read on as the health experts at YourGP examine what this all means and what actions we as a society should take to improve the health and wellbeing of young people before the issue reaches a crisis point.

    Key findings from the report

    • 1 in 20 young people were ‘economically inactive’ due to ill health in 2023.
    • Young people have the poorest mental health of any age group (a reversal from two decades ago when they actually had the lowest incidence of common mental health disorders).
    • 34% of young people aged 18-24 reported symptoms that indicated they were experiencing a common mental health disorder like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.
    • More than half a million 18-24 year olds were prescribed anti-depressants in 2021-22.
    • Young women are 1.5 times more likely to experience poor mental health than young men (41% compared to 26%).

    What does it all mean?

    It is clear from the study that action needs to be taken to improve young people’s mental health. Children and young people today are facing challenges that previous generations didn’t have to, for example the pressures of social media and the toll of cyber bullying.

    We know that poor mental health has the potential to have a detrimental effect on every aspect of a young person’s life, including their relationships, education and future employment. The consequences of experiencing poor mental health at a young age has the potential to affect their opportunities and life choices for many years to come.

    Despite this, according to the Mental Health Foundation, “75% of children and young people who experience mental health problems aren’t getting the help they need”.

    What can we do to improve young people’s mental health?

    The importance of looking after your mental health is something that needs to be emphasised from an early age. After all, safeguarding your mental health is just as important as safeguarding your physical health. So from childhood, we as a society should be:

    • Teaching children about the positive effects of getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.
    • Giving them the freedom to play outdoors and connect with nature.
    • Ensuring they are nurtured and supported at home and at school.
    • Providing them with opportunities to develop skills and form friendships through engaging extra-curricular activities.
    • Enabling them to speak openly about their mental health or any challenges they may be facing.

    This way, children will have a greater chance of developing the resilience needed to cope with life’s ups and down as they grow up.

    If you’re struggling, please reach out

    If you’re currently struggling with poor mental health, whatever your age, it is important that you reach out for help. Turn to a trusted friend or relative – sometimes talking through any issues and knowing you have the support of people around you can make a real difference to how you feel.

    For others, you might need to dig a little deeper into your thoughts, feelings and past experiences to get to the root cause of your mental health issues. In which case, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a health professional such as a GP who can assess the best course of action for you. They may refer you to a counsellor or mental health specialist, recommend talking therapies, or prescribe medication, for example.

    If you would like to speak to a highly experienced and compassionate GP about your mental health, book an appointment at YourGP. You can choose a date and time that suits you via our simple online booking system, or you can email Alternatively, you call us on 0131 225 5656, or arrange a call back via our website.

    We’re here because your mental health matters.



    Received injections from Lynn at the surgery. Hadn’t had an injection in 12 years, so was terrified walking through the front door at first. My mind was put at ease instantly. Very nice people, was given lots of great advice, and the injections were a piece of cake. Couldn’t be happier. Recommended!

    Lee S

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 |

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