Happiness and confidence amongst young people across the UK has drastically fallen to an all-time low, according to a new study. 

The report was published by The Prince’s Trust on Wednesday and includes the 2022 Youth Index which measured how young people feel across different areas of their lives.

“Index scores for almost all areas attributed to wellbeing are at their lowest to date. Young people are particularly worried about their qualifications and training, which is an area that saw some of the biggest drops in confidence and happiness,” the report said.

“Other big concerns are work and employment, with confidence in this area having stagnated at its lowest level, and relationships with friends and family; for which the study measured a notable decrease in happiness,” it added.

The Index found that the coronavirus pandemic of the last two years had a scarring effect on the youth, significantly decreasing confidence and adding to increased fears and anxieties and with many believing they are set to fail in life.

According to the study, 48% of young people reported a significant decline in their mental health with more than 23% believing they will never recover from the emotional effects of the pandemic.

Up to half of respondents noted that their mental health had significantly worsened during the course of the pandemic.

Of those surveyed, one in five believe they will fail in life. This number steeply increases to 35% among those who are not in education, training or employment. Nearly 50% of the latter felt hopeless at the prospects of being unemployed.

British youth are also increasingly concerned about future career prospects and money with 33% saying they are unhappy with the amount of money they have. 20% believe the pandemic has irreversibly damaged their employment opportunities.

Some 50% of those who have missed out on school and work due to the pandemic believe they will be overlooked by employers with 48% now assessing the impact of a job on their mental health before accepting it.

“This year’s Youth Index presents an irrefutable truth; that the pandemic threatens to be a scar for life on the younger generation, unless we act now,” said Jonathan Townsend, chief executive of the Prince’s Trust.

“At this crucial time, we need businesses, government and individuals to work with us to ensure the threats of this report do not become a reality and deliver the chance to succeed that we believe every young person deserves,” Townsend added.

The Trust surveyed and interviewed 2,106 people aged 16-25 between Dec. 22, 2021 and Jan. 12, 2022. The results of this year’s report were matched and compared with the previous 12 reports to gauge a better understanding of the changes in youth happiness.

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