Churches red flag mental health in unemployed youths

Source: Churches red flag mental health in unemployed youths | Newsday (News)

BY TATENDA SQUARE
THE Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has decried escalating cases of mental health problems among the youth as a result of unemployment.

This came out during a virtual ZCC 2021 youth symposium which was held yesterday and showed  that about 67% of the youth in Zimbabwe were idle and ended up abusing drugs and engaging in violence.

The symposium discussed and analysed findings from the 2019 Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s report, tax and debt justice issues, as well as environmental justice in the country. It was running under the theme Enhancing Youth Advocacy in Transparent and Accountable Public Finance Management through Simplification of the Findings of the Auditor-General’s 2019 Report, Promoting Tax, Debt and Environmental Justice.

“67,7% of our population faces high unemployment, unaffordable education, limited civic engagements, partisan youth development frameworks and lack of access to healthcare systems as they remain trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty,” a ZCC presentation at the symposium said.

“Around 67% of the youth in Zimbabwe are unemployed and they end up resorting to drugs and other criminal activities in order to make a living.  The reason for the high unemployment rates is because of corruption and looting of funds by those in power.

“Corruption is one of the major drivers of inequality in Zimbabwe. As resources are siphoned from the national purse at the expense of public service delivery, it is the poor and vulnerable that bears the brunt.”

Participants at the symposium said unemployed youths in the country were now resorting to drugs and other criminal activity to eke a living.

“Unemployment has caused a surge in all sorts of vices among the youths and these include participation in politically-motivated violence, robberies, the spread of HIV/Aids and drug abuse, while others end up suffering from depression and committing suicide,” the ZCC said.

In 2020, a ZimStats report revealed that around 2,2 million of the employed population in Zimbabwe was informally employed, constituting about 76% of the total employment.

The report further said the broad age group 25 to 49 years had the highest proportion of informally employed persons at 68%.

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