The report ‘The impact of Mental Ill Health on Young People Accessing the Labour Market and Good Quality Work’ highlights the pressing need for more mental health and wellbeing support for young people in the UK.
The report will be presented to Government. It was also presented in Parliament to Mims Davies, Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression.
Career Connect was one of sixteen national stakeholders submitting evidence, recommendations and examples of best practice based on our work with young people, including those who are not in education, training and employment (NEET) or at risk of NEET.
Career Connect observed that NEET young people are becoming more difficult to reach, engage and provide support to, the average length of time spent NEET has increased, and an increase in the numbers of young people suspected of suffering from mental health difficulties. This very much reflects the national trend data. Many young people aged 16-18 years old in this group have been heavily impacted by the Covid pandemic in terms of mental health and well-being.
Career Connect gave a series of recommendations, a number of which were adopted by the report.
Career Connect’s recommendations included:
• Introducing proactive and preventative mental health support from age 11 in schools
• Programmes that prioritise young people with mental ill-health and offer them immediate access to services. The Connect to your Future (CYTF) programme, delivered by Career Connect in Manchester, has been successful in this, with particular support delivered with Health2Employment.
• Changing the focus of support programmes from numbers of outcomes to quality of intervention
• Mentor programmes to support young people move into education, employment or training while they are on a waiting list for mental health support.
• Extending youth employment programmes to all young people and not just those on benefits
• Co-locating careers/employability services with CAMHS or being jointly delivered (as has been the case with adult IAPT services).
• Access to funded Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) for young people in the first year of employment.
• Peer support groups such as Youth Voice (see CTYF, Manchester)
• Support for young people that experience travel anxiety
• Free access to gym and sports activities (social prescribing)
Our charity also shared examples of best practice including the He’s Punching/She’s Punching programme with Phoenix Training Eccles Boxing Club. This builds relationships between young people, which focuses on healthy mind/healthy body/activities, plus strength and confidence building through activity and learning.
Sheila Clark, CEO of Career Connect, said: “To help create a better future for all, it is vital that we share our first-hand experience from working closely with young people. We want to be a proactive voice for young people and advise on how services can be shaped to help them thrive.
“We are glad that the report has taken into account a number of our recommendations including early intervention in mental health support, early careers support, targeted mentoring for NEET young people, access to Employee Assistance programmes for young people starting work, and making Youth Voice key in the design of mental health services.
“We hope that this report will be just the start of a process of positive change that will help address the increase in mental health issues faced by young people across the UK.”