In the midst of the General Election updates, news and conversation, this article got my attention: It said that UK Teenagers are the Most unhappy – theyre also stressed about exams.
It led me to a conversation I was having with a family member the other day, as we were walking with the dog, we noticed a small group of four young people, aged about 13, they were a bit giggly, well dressed, out in a country park and to me seemed pleasant if a bit daft. The family member made a comment about whether they thought they ‘were like that as a teenager’ ie a few decades previously… obviously i couldnt let this go unchallenged. However, a few days later. I reflect on the thought that even well mannered, clean, chirpy, conversational young people are looked on with a certain amount of judgement.
The family member, then later, suggested that they thought that the young people ‘looked troubled’ . Blimey, ive seen worse, but it might be suggested – where might the cause of that ‘trouble’ come from.
Then i read the article above. Let it sink in.
Young people in the UK are the most depressed.
Thats young people stocked to the gills with technology, items, TV, magazines, clothes, access to the internet, games, DVD’s – they are depressed. Yet theyve never had it so good – right?
After all all i had was a football, and a muddy field – but stuff is relative, we didnt know what we didnt know to have.
The problem is that young people dont have it all now. They only have it all now in the short term, in the immediate, its stuff is probably all they have that is more than previous generations, and knowledge ( there is more to know as history unravels)
But in the wider and long term- what do young people have more of now than before? Heres 10 things they dont have:
- Security of a job beyond University
- Housing benefits cut over 16s
- Educational maintenance allowance
- One parent who probably doesnt have to work, because mortgages so high/wages not so
- A life that wont involve debt after university
- A variety of education pathways that include vocational, philosophy and artistic subjects ( the government are narrowing this down)
- Reduction in funding for FE colleges, so again other options narrowed
- Heightened awareness of major world disasters on phones/screens – increase in fear/anxiety
- Lack of access to mental health provision, to cope with the shit theyre faced with
- Youth provision culled from most councils – yet social care for adults gets precepts and increased council tax priority – and even underhand tactics from the conservative government in Surrey
- Schools in competition for the ‘best’ marks, best pupils and therefore less time & finances to encourage the potential of those who could thrive with it, (same schools where teachers are off stressed)
And this is only the first 11 things that come to my mind, theres at least 20 others… . As one youthworker said a year ago to me, its the have it all baby boomer generation against the F-all younger generation, and its being made worse.
So tell me, calm and certainty about the future? which part of that includes young people?
Someone surely has to start taking notice and put next generations first. Because at this rate my grand kids will be back down the mines at 12.
If young peoples life goals are so uncertain, then theyll have to find value in the immediate, the stuff of things and technology. No wonder they’re unhappy.
Though as a response. Those over 18 can vote. Vote for a party thatll turn around all that is being reduced, shrunk and taken away from young people. This is only one response, but at this moment i cant think of many others.
To register to vote, if you’re 17 or above, do so here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote