Today’s youth gets a bad rap: it only takes a quick scroll to find articles blasting us as a ‘spoilt’, ‘entitled’, ‘privileged’ generation of snowflakes.
Reading these stories of today’s complacent, easily-triggered pushovers, you’d be forgiven for thinking we do nothing but lay around eating avocado on toast on the free beanbags strewn around our shiny, trendy offices.
However, recent research conducted by the Prince’s Trust paints a very different picture: happiness rates amongst young Britons have never been lower.
The survey, based on a healthy sample size of more than 2,000 respondents aged between 16 and 25, made a series of discoveries which disrupt the narrative that we’re luckier than ever. According to The Guardian, results showed that three out of five respondents regularly feel stressed and concerned about jobs and money, over half had suffered with a mental health problem and one in four felt entirely “hopeless”.
The overall picture is bleak – in fact, the results show that the wellbeing of today’s youth has fallen in the last year and is now at its lowest level in the study’s history (it was first commissioned in 2009).
A deeper dive into the statistics shows that employment is a particular cause for concern, with one in ten surveyed revealing they had been made redundant, fired or had a temporary contract either terminated or not renewed.
It’s arguable that the rising prevalence of the freelance economy, as well as the steady increase in casual work and zero hour contracts, has exacerbated these problems. Several articles have highlighted the repercussions of these precarious forms of employment; on the one hand, self-employment has never been easier but, on the other, those in need of a fixed salary and at least some semblance of stability are left with no guarantee of a regular pay cheque.
Stability is harder to find in the housing market, too, with recent reports showing that house prices across the United Kingdom have risen once again. It’s no wonder young people feel hopeless – with a guaranteed income harder to secure than ever before and the ominous headlines billing us as ‘Generation Rent’, the statistics outlining our unhappiness make perfect sense.
2018 has also seen a series of vital mental health services cut, whereas funding for mental health trusts is lower in real terms than it was six years ago due to a lack of government support – despite Jeremy Hunt’s recent claims that the NHS had spent a “record” amount on mental health.
Ultimately, this research only confirms what young people have been saying all along – is it any wonder we’re miserable?