Home Health Generation Sicknote: How an obsession with mental health issues among 18- to 30-year-olds is setting up an entire generation to fail, as revealed in a study by PROFESSOR MATT GOODWIN

Generation Sicknote: How an obsession with mental health issues among 18- to 30-year-olds is setting up an entire generation to fail, as revealed in a study by PROFESSOR MATT GOODWIN

by Alexander
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The unbridled growth of the therapeutic state has also fostered a “culture of victimhood.”

Britain is mired in an escalating crisis. However, very few people talk about it. Since the pandemic and the disastrous lockdowns it caused, an alarming trend has emerged among people between 18 and 30 years old, an age group increasingly mired in idleness, despair and dependence on the welfare state.

Currently, some 481,000 young people between 16 and 24 years old are unemployed. Some 280,000 young people (roughly the population of Milton Keynes) now rely on some form of unemployment benefit, 50,000 more than before the pandemic and almost double the equivalent figure a decade ago.

Many readers will find these figures surprising, not least because our leaders – in an effort to provide workers – allowed net migration to the country to soar to more than 700,000 in one year, even as young Britons lounged at home.

In January, to help fill the almost one million vacant positions, the Treasury called for even more immigration, much of which, by the way, is low-skilled, low-wage and non-selective migration from outside Europe.

Why can’t young Britons meet the country’s need for labor?

What is holding them back? The answer is in those two words we hear every day: “mental health.” According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a record 2.8 million Britons are not working due to “long-term illnesses”, of whom 560,000 are aged between 16 and 34.

In a report analyzing ONS figures, charity The Health Foundation says the proportion of people not working due to mental health problems has almost doubled in 11 years, from more than six per cent in 2012 to 12 .7 percent in 2023.

In the absence of work, Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are a financial lifeline for those suffering from a physical or mental illness.

The most dependent claimants can get a maximum of £691 every four weeks, on top of other financial help they could receive, such as housing benefit and income support.

Last year, one in three new PIP claims was for anxiety, social phobia, depression and/or stress. The increase was fastest among those under 25 years of age.

The unbridled growth of the therapeutic state has also fostered a “culture of victimhood.”

The unbridled growth of the therapeutic state has also fostered a “culture of victimhood.”

As one analyst, Sam Ashworth-Hayes, recently noted: “The numbers are truly staggering. Personal Independence Payments, formerly known as Disabled Living Allowance, currently cost the Government around £22 billion each year, with around 38 per cent of this spending going towards cases involving mental health problems.

Until recently, many of these mental health benefits did not have work requirements associated with them, meaning that people who could claim some type of mental health condition did not need to prove that they were looking for work.

After polling more than 1,000 young unemployed Britons exclusively for the Mail, I can reveal for the first time the severity of this developing crisis.

The results, compiled by my company People Polling, paint a bleak picture of Britain’s inactivity crisis and how, in my view, we are dooming an entire generation to failure.

Of the unemployed young people aged 18 to 30 who made up our sample, about 40 percent said they had been out of work for a year or more.

And 44 percent depended on social benefits to survive. I cannot understand how that contributes to their sense of purpose and meaning, and to the dignity of their lives.

Some of the young British people surveyed were carers, students or full-time parents. But a truly shocking 49 percent of respondents, nearly half, pointed to “mental health issues” as the driving factor in their unemployment.

No wonder they have been dubbed ‘Generation Sicknote’: a cohort of young Brits whose instinctive reflex is to prioritize their mental wellbeing over getting on with life.

When we asked these young Brits to say, in their own words, why they aren’t working, some of the responses included:

  • “I am unemployed due to my mental health problems.”
  • “I stopped working when the Covid-19 pandemic started and since then I have had great anxiety about having to go back to work in a new place.”
  • ‘I have difficulty with interviews because of my anxiety’
  • ‘I have depression, anxiety and ADHD. Enough talk.’
  • “My job was having a negative effect on my mental health, so I quit.”
  • “I just don’t feel safe working around people, it makes me uncomfortable.”

I caught a glimpse of this mentality during and after lockdowns, when I noticed many of the ‘Generation Z’ students (born between 1997 and 2012) I taught at university becoming strangely withdrawn and anxious.

Having had almost no sustained contact with the rest of the world, many retreated into themselves, distancing themselves from society at large.

But can all this be attributed to the pandemic? I am not convinced.

Clearly, if young people are truly struggling with serious mental health issues, then they should be supported.

But increasingly, it seems that the definition of “mental health problems” is expanding, while we fail to confront a much larger cultural problem.

The stark reality is that while Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was right to recently announce a new “return to work scheme” to encourage people on benefits to take up employment, this will not make much difference. Because? Because we are rushing to offer support and wellbeing for all types of mental health conditions and, in turn, this is expanding the role of the State and convincing more and more young people that it is perfectly acceptable to rely on the government for everything.

And this has been a long time coming. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were warnings about the dangerous rise of the “therapeutic state,” about how governments were moving away from forcing people to work in favor of ongoing mental health treatments and in the service of “emotional well-being.” of people.

Since then, therapy, counseling and mental health services have become key functions of the State, while our institutions (from universities to schools) now strive to provide “emotional security” and cater to every whim and desires of a visibly fragile and insecure population. and eager younger generation.

As scholars Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff noted in their recent book, The Coddling Of The American Mind, many universities today routinely emphasize the need for students to have “safe spaces,” issue “trigger warnings” for controversial topics, and “they can’t hire therapists fast enough to meet demand.”

This is reflected in our exclusive survey, which reveals, surprisingly, that only just over half of unemployed young people think it is their responsibility to find work.

And that’s not all.

The unbridled growth of the therapeutic state has also fostered a “culture of victimhood.”

In Western societies, the state, its schools and other institutions actively encourage young people to see themselves as victims of mental health problems, “racism”, “sexism” and “white privilege”.

As a study by American sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning points out, while countries like Britain once fostered cultures that prioritized bravery and honor, today they sell a much weaker and narcissistic culture of victimhood.

In this context, Campbell and Manning say, fighting mental health can give young people “a kind of moral status based on suffering and need.”

This is clearly seen on social media, where you don’t have to look far to find visibly lost, directionless and confused young people talking about their “mental health” problems, rather than, say, what they achieved at work or how They are contributing to society at large.

The drain this culture has on the public purse is bad enough (it is projected that the State will shell out £50bn in disability and mental health benefits by the end of the decade), but its effect on the pride and careers of a generation of people will be corrosive.

It looks like this crisis will get much worse unless we radically change course. One of the main reasons why the British economy is still doing worse than other advanced nations is precisely because of the lack of workers, and young people are becoming a big part of this story.

So if we really want to get Britain moving again, then the government’s priority must be getting these young Britons back to work, giving them a sense of purpose and meaning to their lives and rolling back the therapeutic state.

Because if we don’t, Britain risks becoming even sicker than these young people say they are.

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