What is the solution?
Key to resolving the problems set out in the previous section are creative, adequate, appropriate and effective support networks for children and young people to engage with.
Support networks will help to create an environment where children can succeed, feel worthy and included, and fulfil their life goals. Where those support networks provide co-ordinated and joined-up cover, they will be able to directly combat the problems that lie at the heart of the issues that have been identified.
What difference will the solution make?
The creation and implementation of appropriate support networks for young people will provide children with an enriched experience that will enable them to pursue the mission of AYOS: to create an environment where they can ’let life be’ whatever they want it to be – happy, drug-free, care-free, supportive, filled with good relationships – anything that young person dreams of for their life.
The difference that the AYOS solution could make would not be limited to those children directly impacted, but would cascade through families, communities, schools, workplaces and whole towns and cities, reducing exclusion, promoting inclusion, and creating a healthy environment in which life can flourish.
What is at stake?
The ‘do nothing’ option would allow an already increasing problem to reach levels that could be potentially irreversible, at least in the short-to-medium term.
Problems linked directly, and indirectly, to mental health are on the increase, and unless action is taken to step in and support children who are showing signs of low-level mental health issues, those problems will grow into bigger issues that will, potentially, place a significant strain on resources.
In addition, the rise of anti-social behaviour among a disaffected and disengaged youth population is already putting police resources under pressure, and unless positive interventions are made, the problem, and the strain it creates, will increase.
Police and Community Safety Partnerships are seeing a big rise in anti-social behaviour in both town and countryside, which can, in large part, be attributed to the declining availability of suitable support services. Therefore, without the creation and implementation of new and appropriate services to support the youth population, the incidents and effects of anti-social behaviour will only get worse.
Without suitable support networks to combat both mental health issues and behavioural/educational problems, a generation of disengaged young people will emerge. Those disengaged young people will, in all likelihood, become disengaged adults, which will lead, not only to an immediate escalation of the issues that had manifested in their youth, but also to the onset of a generational cycle that will become increasingly difficult to break.