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Mobile youth services working with communities across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

What is the problem?

In modern society, more than ever before, young people experience multiple difficulties, and must often overcome significant barriers in order to progress.

Children from as early as school years one and two are forced to cope with rapid change throughout their school years, and there is inadequate support available to help them navigate that process. As a consequence, young people develop low-level mental health issues that manifest in a variety of ways, and can become exacerbated by the handling of the resulting behaviour, which often leads to segregation in both school and home life for that child.

Symptoms of low level mental health issues are often missed, Therefore, as a result of non-diagnosis, or mis-diagnosis, young people are left to face these issues alone, and find themselves referred to CAMHS and social services when the problems have become more severe.

This is not a problem that is limited to any particular demographic and can, in fact, be more prevalent among seemingly successful and reasonably affluent families

In addition to the various problems arising from low-level mental health issues, a number of other problems exist that hinder the progress children are able to make in pursuing their aspirations. These problems surround socio-economic standing and educational opportunities.

Mainstream education struggles to engage many young people, perhaps as a result of bullying, low motivation, lack of aspiration, or inadequate or inappropriate resources. Disengaged young people then under-perform in school and do not achieve the qualifications they need to open further opportunities for progression.

All of these problems highlight what is, perhaps, the key issue: the absence of suitable support networks for young people. If young people cannot access adequate support, when they need it, problems are allowed to continue. Those problems then increase in severity and have an even greater social and economic impact as they persist into adulthood.

The problems arising from the absence of appropriate and adequate support networks is heightened in rural areas, where the issue of isolation is even greater. Where children have no outlet to express their feelings, or access support for the issues they face, the problems they are encountering are likely to worsen, often with serious detrimental effects to both the individual and their family and community.

Appropriate support, positive engagement, sport and physical activity can all help to alleviate these issues, but without a co-ordinated ‘joined-up’ approach, the problem is unlikely to be resolved with any long-term effect.