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NEETs experiencing mental health problems doubles in seven years

The proportion of 16-24- year-old young people not in education, employment or training experiencing mental health problems has almost doubled since 2012, according to government statistics.

The Department for Education's NEET statistics annual brief 2019 found that young people not in education, employment or training experiencing a mental health problem almost doubled from 11.7% in 2012 to 23.9% in 2018.
Although the proportion of the overall 16-24 population with a health condition has remained relatively stable in recent years, there is an increasing proportion of those 16-24 NEET reporting a health condition, the briefing said.
In 2018 those NEET were almost twice as likely to have a health problem than the overall 16-24 population - 40.0% and 21.1% respectively.
The briefing revealed that the NEET rate remained stable for the overall 16-24 and 18-24 age groups but increased slightly for 16/17 year olds.
The most recent recession where less economic activity takes place and so there are fewer jobs available and more redundancies, increased the number of NEET.
Compared with 16/17 year olds, young people aged 18-24, have a NEET rate almost three times higher at 13.0%. Many of this group are no longer in education and are instead in the labour market and consequently, those not in employment contribute to a higher NEET rate.
However, between October to December 2018 and 2019, the proportion NET remained stable for the overall 16-24 and 18-24 age groups although it increased for 16/17 year olds.
The labour market status of young people NEET has changed over time. According to the latest figures, every 3 in 5, of those young people NEET are economically inactive. The unemployment rate increased for 16-24 year olds in the years following the 2008/2009 recession, peaking in 2011. The proportion unemployed has since fallen driven largely by a decline in those unemployed for more than six months.
Since 2014, more young people are NEET due to economic inactivity than due to being unemployed. The main reason for inactivity being long term or temporarily sick has increased since 2011.
In October to December 2019 the NEET gender gap has once again closed since widening in October to December 2018.
The main reason for females being NEET is different to males, the briefing states. Although the proportions have fallen in the last 10 years, in October to December 2019, females are still more likely to be NEET due to looking after family/home than males (3.7% compared with 0.3%). A higher proportion of males are unemployed than females - 6.4% compared with 3.0%.
There are notable differences in the NEET rates across the country. The North East had the highest NEET rate and has had the highest October to December rate since 2014 for 16-24 year olds in October to December 2019. The South East and South West had the lowest NEET rates and have had the lowest October to December rates for the last five years.
The briefing notes that these statistics have a degree of error as they are based on a sample of the whole population.
NEET statistics annual brief: 2019, England 5 March 2020

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