Young people’s mental health: Live Q&A

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, we were aware of the growing need for mental health support for young people. Research has shown that most long-term mental health problems begin in adolescence with 75% of mental illnesses starting before a person’s 18th birthday. That’s why providing early preventative support can help to avoid deterioration in a young person’s mental health.

The coronavirus pandemic and its deviating impact has exacerbated young people’s mental health and wellbeing. By the end of 2020, some 4 million young people had experienced symptoms of poor mental health over the previous ten months – many for the first time according to a new study by Bupa. Disrupted education, fewer opportunities and reduced peer connectedness all underscore the urgent need for mental health support as young people muddle through this period of change and uncertainty.  

For this Q&A, we’ll be exploring some of the issues young people are currently facing, along with some practical ways you can support the young people in your life. We’re delighted to be joined by the following panellist:

  • Helen Williams is manager in England for young people’s programmes at Mental Health UK including Bloom (delivered in schools and colleges) and Your Resilience (delivered to athletes on professional sports pathways). Previously Helen worked at The Mix, Young Minds, Beat Eating Disorders and Young Women’s Trust always in frontline services and always with a focus on supporting young people’s mental wellbeing to help them see their potential. Educationally, Helen has a BA in English Lit and a postgrad in Journalism meaning when not working she’s often preoccupied with the media, novels, poetry anthologies and their interplay with our mental wellbeing. She trained to be a life coach in 2015 and has since coached 100s of people in the UK and beyond.
  • Tom Lyons is the Operations Manager at Fulham Football Club Foundation. His background includes working across the youth and sports sector, as a youth worker, coach and a development officer at local authorities, disability charities and within the leisure sector. Tom’s role at Fulham FC Foundation involves overseeing the community programmes, working with a wide range of individuals from ages 3 to 102. The Foundation provides sports and physical activities across South West London, including targeted programmes for disabled people, young people living in deprived wards, refugees and socially isolated adults. A new programme – More than a Game – is currently being launched which is aimed specifically at supporting the mental wellbeing of the participants and the wider community. Tom loves all sports, especially tennis, and somewhat obviously, football!
  • Pauline Brennan is a Volunteer Counsellor at Childline. Although Pauline’s background was in Human Resources and Change Management Consultancy, she left the corporate world after 15 years and moved into different types of volunteering work. For 4 years she volunteered with a charity working on the streets of East London with women involved in prostitution. Many of these women told of very difficult childhoods, where they suffered abuse and had no one to listen to them. They fell into drug addiction, and eventually prostitution, where they felt trapped. In 2007, Pauline decided to try to find a way to support children, to help them feel listened to and valued, so she applied to Childline as a Volunteer Counsellor and has now been counselling for close to 12 years.

This session will be hosted by Charlotte Tidbury, Programme Support Officer at Mental Health UK.

To tune into the session, you’ll first need to create an account on Clic, then simply log in on Wednesday 24 February at midday and come back to the event page for the Q&A.

If you have a question you’d like to put to our experts, you can either submit one in advance or ask it in the live chat function while the event is happening.