Seventy-five years ago, eighteen year old men and women were dealing with the Luftwaffe bombing our cities to oblivion, with death all around them and the stresses of war. Some had psychological stress but they were relatively rare and, frankly, who could blame them? Wind forward to today and 26% of 16-24 year old women report suffering at least one mental health issue a week. 9% of men suffer likewise. It is hard to know where to start.
The BBC loved this new study published by NHS Digital and naturally, like the NHS, reckons the Government needs to go to harvest the money tree to tackle this issue. There was praise for Bradford University which helps its poor students cope by giving them a room where they can sit with guide-dogs. I really kid you not.
The NHS reckons that new media and online peer pressure might explain why rates have soared. Perhaps the millennials might bin their smart phones and try de-stressing as they did 70 years ago? Perhaps something relaxing like volunteering to work in Aleppo?
The gender gap is startling and if you are an employer there can only be one sensible conclusion. If you hire young women you have a 1 in 4 chance that your new staff member might have a mental health incident once a week and thus be non-productive. Hire blokes and your chances are less than one in ten. Any sensible employer will look at this data and henceforth will operate a policy of hidden discrimination by hiring young men only. Women cannot expect equality on the workplace when they offer employers a guarantee that they will be less productive than men from day one.
I take mental health seriously. I have suffered from depression. Suicide is relatively common in my family with four fatalities, including my mother, in the last three generations.
The British attitude to serious mental health issues is poor. We fail to talk about them and to help those who are really in need. But there is an element of the boy, or rather, girl who cried wolf at play with the millennials. As I sit here and contemplate the idea that one of four young women has issues and feels the need to sit in a room with some retired guide dogs in order to cope I despair. Liberal universities keen to spunk taxpayer cash may indulge such dippy creatures, but those running commercial enterprises, indeed we as a nation cannot afford to be so indulgent.
How times have changed in the past seventy five years. Assuming that trends continue I once again consider the idea that an asteroid strike is the least that our society deserves.