THE IMPACT OF UNDER-EMPLOYMENT ON YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH IN NIGERIA
THE IMPACT OF UNDER-EMPLOYMENT ON YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH IN NIGERIA
The study looked at the mental health impacts of youth unemployment in Akwa Ibom State. According to the study, young unemployment has numerous detrimental repercussions on mental health, the economy, families, and individuals.
According to the questionnaire responses, youth unemployment causes poverty, low productivity, losses in foreign direct investment, low revenue generation, rural urban migration, illicit activities that increase insecurity, anti-social activities such as prostitution, political thuggery, violence, criminal behaviour, restiveness, and other social vices among unemployed youths, all of which pose a threat to the stability, growth, and development of the country.
The study indicates that tackling the issues of youth unemployment requires the participation of all stakeholders. The analysis suggests that effective policy measures such as re-prioritization or revitalization of the agricultural sector, reformation of the educational system, provision of an enabling environment, and the construction of industries be pursued vigorously in order to drastically reduce unemployment and poverty, as well as eradicate the menace of youth unemployment in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and Nigeria as a whole.
1.1 Background Of The Study
Globally, there is enormous unemployment of qualified and able-bodied youths, which has caused great concern for both governmental and non-governmental organisations, as well as the public and private sectors of the economy.
The 1980s worldwide economic recession produced a significant decrease in Nigeria's economic industrial output. Youth unemployment was not as severe in the 1960s and 1970s as it is today because the government was actively involved in finding jobs for graduates from various higher education institutions.
Unemployment can have a variety of effects on a person, but one's financial well-being may be the most affected. Inability to obtain work can have a negative impact on a family, especially if the household is single-income (Bock, 2007). Housing has been at the forefront of many people's minds since the recession.
Foreclosures surged by 81% in 2008 and have grown by 225% since 2006. Many banks imposed a loan moratorium, preventing many people from purchasing homes. Despite decreased property prices, many people are ‘underwater,' or owe more on their home than it is worth, producing additional financial stress and worry (Eley, 2009).
Unemployment has unfortunately lingered longer than it has in the past since the Great depression. Prior to the recession, unemployment benefits ran out after 26 weeks. By 2010, unemployment insurance had been expanded to provide coverage for an average of 99 weeks (Mulligan, 2011). However, for many, their unemployment exceeds the 99-week limit of unemployment insurance.
According to the Census Bureau (2011), unemployment benefits protected 3.2 million people from falling into poverty last year, which is $22,314 for a family of four. Furthermore, it says that the number of poor people has increased by 46.2%, or nearly 1 in every 6 Americans.
This represents a 27-year high in the United States. With the rise in poverty, more people are taking advantage of programmes like food stamps. Food stamps were distributed to 46 million persons in August 2011, a record high (US Census).
Youth unemployment has taken centre stage in most social and economic discussions in Nigeria throughout the years since youths continue to be a nation's most valuable asset and lifeline. Youth employment is commonly seen as a basic source of survival and economic development in any society (Ajaji, 2008).
The central issue in mental health development is how to create the conditions for rapid and sustained growth and productivity, with the ultimate goal of improving people's quality of life and standard of living through the production of goods and services at affordable prices, the provision of basic infrastructure, the reduction of poverty, the creation of employment opportunities, and a conducive political, religious, social, and economic environment. Cheriri (2007).
Despite commendable efforts implemented by the federal, state, and local governments to alleviate the growing issue of joblessness among the country's teeming population, youth unemployment in Nigeria is skyrocketing. Several governments, both past and current, have attempted to address this issue, yet it continues to grow.
President Ibrahim Babangida's regime (1984-1993) was the first to be confronted with vast unemployment, which resulted in the establishment of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to combat the plague of unemployment, but to little avail. President Olusegun Obasanjo's government (1999-2007) launched the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), but it was unable to address the problem.
President Umaru Yaradua's administration (2007-2010) launched the seven (7) point agenda to address this issue, but no meaningful progress was made. President Goodluck Jonathan's (2011-2015) administration launched Youth Enterprise with New Innovations (YOUWIN) and Alhaji Bolaji Abdulahji, the minister of youth, also organised a youth forum to help youths realise their life goals, but there is still a high prevalence of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
In contrast to its regional neighbours, most of whom have significantly fewer resources, the degree of unemployment in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State tends to expand in a geometric progression every year. According to Anameza (2000), Nigeria will have no hope of measuring development or increasing the welfare of its people unless it improves the possibilities of employment for its graduates.
The threat of unemployment is becoming seen as one of the mental health issues confronting many developing countries, including Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
With a population of over 4 million people and a diverse range of natural resource endowments, Akwa Ibom State has the potential to be a source of growth and prosperity for the entire region. The unemployment problem in Akwa Ibom State is persistent and even expanding by the day, with around 70% of the labour force (mainly youngsters) entering the labour market each year (Adelodun, 2006).
Unemployment statistics appear to consist not only of uneducated rural populations uprooted by failing agricultural production due to a lack of mechanisation and decreasing incomes, but also of some highly educated populations, who would normally form the core of a developing country's productive vanguard.
In other words, even by European and American standards, many of Nigeria's unemployed and subsequently destitute are well educated. Underemployment and low productivity in Nigeria form a vicious cycle that explains the country's persistent poverty.
Overall, unemployment in Akwa Ibom State has impacted teenagers from a wide range of mental health groups, both well and less educated, but it has disproportionately impacted youths from low-income families with minimal education. From the foregoing, it is clear that unemployment, particularly among graduates, impedes Akwa Ibom State's progress in a variety of ways.
Apart from being a waste of money, it is also a threat to political stability (Ipaye, 1998). It is troubling to see that Nigerian graduates have a low chance of finding gainful employment. It is even more disappointing that the country's economic situation is such that it is unable to absorb an ideal amount of its own educational system's output.
Employers no longer go out hunting for new staff. Employees are increasingly moving from one workplace to the next in search of non-existent jobs. Thousands of young individuals are currently waiting to be interviewed for one, two, or a few unfilled positions in various organisations or businesses. Most persons who are unable to earn a living are prone to social vices. They regard themselves as second-class citizens since they are unable to contribute to society.
Youth unemployment was prevalent in Akwa Ibom State and Uyo Local Government Area, leading to social vices and instability in the state. Politics, public service, trading, and farming are the only means of life in Uyo Local Government Area. No day goes by without seeing young people strolling the streets in various workplaces and commercial areas looking for work after seeing advertisements in newspapers, magazines, handbills, posters, billboards, radio and television broadcasts.
Youths all over the country spend a significant amount of time and money perusing the internet in quest of work, while some, bored of looking for work and labelled as lazy, have joined terrible gangs and are involved in illegal activities and prostitution.
Youth unemployment is defined as young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who are unemployed. It also refers to young people who are willing and able to work but are unable to obtain work. Under-employment, on the other hand, refers to those who are gainfully employed but are not financially compensated for their suffering and qualifications (Onuh, 2011).
Youths in Akwa Ibom State and Uyo Local Government Area have been severely impacted by unemployment and underemployment. Several factors contribute to this, including rural-urban migration, corruption, socio-cultural restrictions, a substandard educational system with a large turnover of graduates from secondary and higher education institutions, and an increase in government spending on political office holders. Unemployment can also lead to despair, low self-esteem, frustration, and a variety of other undesirable outcomes (Ipaye, 1998).
Youth unemployment is a critical issue in Uyo since the youth make up a large portion of the labour force and have fresh ideas, which, among other things, are significant in the country's development process. However, a high share of young people are unemployed.
The negative repercussions include psychological issues such as frustration, depression, and animosity, as well as the slow descent of some visible unemployed youngsters into various criminal activities (Okafor, 2011). Unemployment in Uyo in general is a pitiful scenario that requires immediate attention to address the mental health consequences.
The study is being conducted with the goal of investigating the mental health impact of youth unemployment in Akwa Ibom State using Uyo Local Government as a case study and providing solutions to improve and alleviate youth unemployment in Uyo and Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
The incidence of youth unemployment in Akwa Ibom State is frightening, and it is increasing exponentially. Youth unemployment in the state is getting onerous, threatening the state's growth. It is obvious that if given the opportunity to work, teenagers in any society are the greatest assets of national growth.
Due to the lack of ample employment opportunities in the state, the teeming youths with vibrant energy cannot contribute effectively and efficiently to the state's economic growth and development, but instead channel such energy into unacceptable means of satisfying their needs, wants, and goals in life by engaging in social vices such as mental health, criminal behaviour, violence, political thuggery, cybercrimes, fraud (419), murder, and killing human beings. Our current society isn't helping problems by emphasising and rewarding materialism.
The problem of youth unemployment in Uyo and the state has also affected the local government area, individuals, families, communities, society, and government, and has indeed hampered the mental health growth and development of Uyo and the state, thereby challenging the leadership and people of Akwa Ibom State as it causes poverty, high crime rates and deviant behaviour, malnutrition, and poor health conditions, which leads to high death rates (Brown, 2011).
Nwodo (2011) wants the Federal and State Governments to address the mounting concerns of young unemployment, insecurity, and other social vices that are ravaging our country as soon as possible. Today's unemployment difficulties are so prevalent that Njoku (1997) remarked, “Nothing can be more disturbing to an independent nation than a preponderance of unemployed youths.
” As a result, according to Okoro (2001), “restive youths without employment, good housing, and other decent living conditions are bound to become miscreants in society, and deviant behaviour will soon become the order of the day in their lives.” Umanah (2011) stated that unemployment has caused unparalleled social and economic turmoil. It has social, economic, political, health, and psychological ramifications for both individuals and society.
These seemingly insurmountable challenges compel this scholarly endeavour, which seeks to determine the extent of the mental health consequences of adolescent unemployment in Akwa Ibom State. The improvements will only be focused on Uyo, the state capital.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
To investigate the relationship between unemployment and mental health among Nigerian youth.
To look at the elements that affect unemployment and mental health in Nigeria.
To investigate government intervention to help protect the health of those suffering from mental illnesses.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions for the project are as follows.
What is the relationship between youth unemployment and mental health in Nigeria?
What variables effect Nigerian unemployment and mental health?
What is the government's intervention to help protect the health of people suffering from mental illnesses?
1.5 Research Theories
The following are the research hypotheses:
In Uyo Local Government Area, there is no substantial association between young unemployment and youth mental health.
In Uyo Local Government, there is a considerable association between youth unemployment and the prevalence of criminal activity.
In Uyo Local Government Area, there is a clear association between a lack of industries and youth unemployment.
1.6 Significance Of TheÂ Study
This study will be useful in many ways; it will be used as a tool for future research by other researchers who will attempt to do research in the same topic in the future. The study will assist the government in providing better solutions for youth mental health in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area in particular, and Nigeria in general. It will also aid scholars in the progression of knowledge by providing reference material, term paper topics, symposium and seminar presentations.
The report will be a useful reference and tool in the fight against rising unemployment. It will also act as a foundation or foundation for other scholars to challenge, revise, and correct the study work. The study will provide answers to various arms of government in Nigeria about unemployment and its underlying causes in society, particularly among youngsters.
1.7 Limitations And Scope Of The Study
The investigation will be limited to the Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government, which includes both urban and rural areas. It will be limited to Nung Udoe's urban hub. Also included are rural locations such as Obot Idim, Okop Ndua Erong, and Obio Aduang.
The study will become acquainted with a variety of conceptual terms, including unemployment, different types of unemployment, youths, Nigeria, Ibesikpo Asutan, and mental health, among others.
The Anomy Model proposed by Emile Durkheim will be used as the theoretical framework for the investigation.
1.8 Justification Of The Study
Several scholars have undertaken studies on unemployment and its effects on society's youth. For example, the International Labour Organisation (2010) discovered that in 35 countries where data is available, nearly 40% of job searchers have been out of employment for more than a year, putting them at risk of demoralisation, self-esteem loss, and mental health difficulties. More importantly, unemployment affects young people disproportionately.
Thooker (2011) found that unemployment in the United States of America (U.S.A) is currently at an eye-popping 9.6% in a study done in the United States of America (U.S.A).
Four out of every ten Americans desire to work but are unable to find jobs. Citizens who have been out of work for a long period and have thus lost unemployment benefits that have expired are severely affected by the circumstance. This predicament has caused the American government to spend more money on social welfare programmes for unemployed teenagers, putting strain on other sectors of the American economy.
According to White and Wyn (2004), unemployment is a single factor that impacts young people, their families, and communities. Today, youth unemployment is a severe problem all over the world; nearly half of the unemployed are young people.
Awogbenle and Iwoamadi (2010) determined in Nigeria that youth unemployment was a barrier to developing economies. They said that the job market has deteriorated for everyone, not only experienced and educated young people. Instead of serving others, they advised adolescents to become self-employed through the entrepreneurial process.
According to the foregoing literature, none of the research have provided a comparative examination of unemployment and its consequences on the mental health of young people in contemporary Nigeria.
This is why I choose to focus my consequences on current society through a case study of Akwa Ibom State's Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area.