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Advice has key role to play in improving mental health

Posted: 26 January 2010

Ground-breaking study reveals strong links between social welfare problems, mental health and youth

Youth Access has launched the results of the first ever study focusing on the relationship between social welfare problems, mental health and youth.

The key findings, contained in a new report, With rights in mind, include:

  • There are strong associations between social welfare problems (such as homelessness and debt), mental health and youth, regardless from which direction the relationship is viewed.
  • Social welfare problems and mental health problems tend to co-occur and can exacerbate each other.
  • Particularly strong associations were found amongst NEET young adults and where homelessness was involved.
  • The provision of social welfare advice may have a significant beneficial impact on young people's mental health and well-being.

Barbara Rayment, Director of Youth Access, says:

"This study provides tremendously important evidence for policy makers to take into account in formulating cost-effective responses to the impact of the recession. For the majority, the worst of the recession may be over, but Youth Access remains deeply concerned that the continuing rise of youth unemployment will lead to major increases in both social welfare problems and mental health problems in the medium to long term."

Youth Access believes that the study's findings have important implications for policy and practice:

  • Advice services should be routinely provided alongside services that can provide support for young people's emotional and mental health issues.
  • There is a need for joined-up planning at local and national level involving commissioners responsible for advice services, mental health services and integrated youth support services if public resources are to be effectively focussed on those with the most complex needs.

Barbara Rayment says:

"The evidence points clearly to the need for greater investment in multi-disciplinary service models that can provide age appropriate advice, counselling and other support services 'under one roof'."

Read With rights in mind - full report or briefing version

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