Headlines: August 11th, 2009

Young adults represent a disproportionate number of those behind bars, those unemployed and those suffering from mental and physical health problems. They make up 12 per cent of Britain’s population. More needs to be done to support them.

The study from Young People in Focus, paints a picture of a polarised generation of young adults where three times as many now go to university but where almost 1 in 6 is not in education, employment or training. Only 9 per cent of young adults from marginalised communities make it to university in modern Britain.

The research also reveals the full extent of young adult crime in Britain, highlighting that a third of all crime is committed by 18-24 year olds and that the group represent over a quarter of those in custody. But young adults in this age group are also the most common victims of crime. About half of 18-25 year-olds, who had offended in the past 12 months, had also been a victim of personal crime in the same period.

When looking at mental health, the report highlights the significant level of problems amongst young adults in Britain today. Suicide is second only to road-traffic accidents when it comes to causes of premature death, and eating disorders and self-harm are considerably more prevalent amongst young adults than any other age group. But most importantly, the work highlights the huge specific problem of self-harm and mental illness amongst vulnerable young adults and young adult offenders. Vulnerable adults are considerably more likely to have a mental health problem, whilst young adult offenders are up to 10 times more likely to commit suicide than young adults in the general population.

The report calls for more to be done to support some of the most vulnerable people in society.