The ultimate desire of almost every young person in Ghana is to get a job. But in Ghana, doing a decent job is a lifelong breakthrough for young people and a prayer for many. The citizens are questioning whether it is not a requirement for citizens to find a job when they are ready to enter the workforce. In Ghana, the situation is very different.
The Canker of Unemployment
Youth age is known for being a period full of zeal and eagerness to venture into new endeavours. The period is to provide an individual ample time and liberty to plan and prepare for a quality and self-satisfying future. But for the Ghanaian youth, these are mere concepts with their realisation being a fiasco as they are met with hopelessness, a fuzzy tomorrow, and deprived of opportunities that could enable them to be of immense importance to their families and the society at large.
Data from the Ghana Statistical Service from the 2021 Population and Housing Census shows that 13.4 percent of Ghana’s active population is unemployed. Every year thousands of students graduate from the various tertiary institutions of Ghana and only a handful get temporary or permanent employment. Fresh graduates have been urged to find innovative ways of becoming entrepreneurs as the government payroll cannot employ them. Various demonstrations and agitations have sprung up physically and on social media to draw attention to this canker.
Unemployment and Mental Health
Psychologists and sociologists have argued as far back as the Great Depression that unemployment impairs mental health and destabilises the social structure of society. Increased crime, substance abuse, addiction, prostitution, and other deviant behaviours among the youth can be the negative social impact of youth unemployment. In an interview on the streets of Accra, some unemployed youth expressed their worry about the effect unemployment is having on their mental health. A twenty-nine-year-old unemployed graduate said that because he was not working, he had isolated himself from friends and family. He emphasised that that had deteriorated his personal life and psychological well-being. One lady disclosed that her mental health was so affected to the extent that she had suicidal thoughts.
The future of this country cannot be spearheaded by men and women who suffer from one mental disorder or the other so why then not stop it from happening? Survival comes before growth, so shall the youth look to entrepreneurship when how to survive each day is a challenge on its own? All stakeholders involved in the issue of employment in the country must prepare to deal with this situation to provide young people with a quality livelihood through gainful and meaningful employment. What they ask for is an opportunity to work, and as humanly as possible, that is not too much to ask.