Mental health epidemic holds back Britain’s young workers

Young people and mental health:

We live in a time where mental health is discussed more than ever, especially amongst young people. This is incredibly important, as highlighting the issues that young people face is the first step to promoting change and improvement in how we challenge mental health difficulties.

Dealing with mental health as a young person can be incredibly challenging, and recent figures establish how prevalent the mental health epidemic is within the UK. In 2020, one in six young people in England experienced a mental health problem [1]. Other recent research has found that nearly one-third of 16-24 year olds in the UK reported some evidence of depression or anxiety, with suicide being the leading cause of death for young people. From these statistics, it’s evident that we have a mental health epidemic amongst young people, and that change is needed now more than ever[2].

How poor mental health impacts young workers:

The average person will spend around 90,000 hours at work throughout their lifetime – it’s a big part of our life. Because of this, it is totally understandable that how we feel may have a big impact on our work[3]. Mental health difficulties can impact a young person’s productivity, performance, and career prospects. When we’re not feeling at our best, it’s expected that we won’t be able to perform to our full potential. Its estimated that almost 13% of all sickness days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.

This relationship isn’t one sided; our work can also impact our mental health. Common workplace issues such as stress, burnout, discrimination, stigma, and lack of support can often further negatively impact young individuals with mental health challenges[4]. Combined, the two factors of poor mental health and work-related issues further contribute to the mental health epidemic amongst young people [5].

How do we solve the epidemic?

With an issue such as the mental health epidemic, there isn’t a ‘one size fixes all’ solution. There’s countless social, cultural, biological, and psychological factors that contribute to a person’s mental health – and each of these will vary for every individual[6]. Many young workers feel more support is needed from their workplace, with a recent study finding 86% of UK employees do not feel that their respective employers are doing enough to support them with mental wellbeing issues such as work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. From a top-down approach, there’s various strategies that policy makers and employers could utilise to help manage these issues [7].

One key strategy to help manage the mental health epidemic is early intervention: tackling the problem as soon as it’s identified. Studies have highlighted that workplaces who invest in early intervention and in-depth mental wellbeing practices such as stress management training, and therapy sessions delivered during work hours, have a positive impacts on mental wellbeing [8]. Not only does early intervention benefit workers, but it also benefits employers, with research finding that early intervention lowers company costs, increases employee satisfaction, and productivity.

Taking a holistic approach to young workers and the mental health epidemic, there are several, smaller steps that employers can take. Examples such as; creating a positive and inclusive work culture, ensuring employee’s physical wellbeing is monitored, providing flexible and reasonable working adjustments based on need, offering training and education on mental health awareness, investing in mental health services and resources, and involving young people in decision-making and service design[9]. Recent government and workplace policy is moving in the right direction, with an announcement of nearly £5 million to provide earlier, open-access mental health intervention at ten hubs in community locations, and Young Minds training and consultancy for professionals working with young people[10].

Although some of these may seem small, each one is vital in fostering a culture that promotes the mental wellbeing of young workers.

Smart TMS and Private Medical Insurance:

Here at Smart TMS, we’ve seen a recent uptake in employers funding TMS through private medical insurance providers such as BUPA and AXA. If your employer provides medical insurance, its worth following this up; we’ve had several patients through this route who’ve greatly benefited from rTMS treatment.

Author, Ben,

Smart TMS Manchester Practitioner


  1. Naber, A. (n.d.). One third of your life is spent at work. [online] Gettysburg College. Available at:
  2. (2018). The importance of early intervention when it comes to wellbeing. [online] Mybenefitsatwork Employee Benefits Portal. Available at:
  3. ‌Mind (2023). Facts and figures about young people and mental health. [online] Available at:
  4. ‌Young Minds (2021). Mental Health Statistics UK | Young People. [online] YoungMinds. Available at:
  5. Mental Health Foundation (2023). Mental health at work: statistics. [online] Available at:
  6. GOV.UK. (n.d.). Earlier mental health support announced for thousands nationwide. [online] Available at:
  7. YoungMinds. (n.d.). Resources For Professionals Working With Young People. [online] Available at:
  8. Department for Education (2021). Mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. [online] GOV.UK. Available at:
  9. NHS Digital (2022). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2022 – wave 3 follow up to the 2017 survey. [online] NHS Digital. Available at:
  10. NHS (2021). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2021 – Wave 2 Follow up to the 2017 Survey. [online] NHS Digital. Available at:‌‌‌