ACEVO (The UK’s largest Network for Charity and Social Enterprise Leaders) have recently launched ‘Coming in from the Cold’ – a report on loneliness among young people in London. We are delighted to announce that Worth-it Projects features as a case study in this report.
To date there has been little in-depth research into this problem and this report is a ground-breaking attempt to begin this process. It uses London as a test case and focuses on those aged 16 to 32 years, examining the causes of loneliness among young people and proposing solutions to the related problems.
Estimates show that the health, crime and unemployment costs, which in part can be associated with loneliness, amount to £34.5 billion. The damage done by loneliness to young people themselves can range from poor physical and mental health, a suppression of future job/earning opportunities or a drift into criminal activity.
Main Findings of the ‘Coming in from the Cold’ Report
Some of the main findings to come from the report are detailed here:
- 48% of 18-24 year olds say that they often feel lonely
- Young Londoners are roughly twice as likely to be lonely as the national average
- Women and ethnic minorities are significantly over-represented among lonely young Londoners
- Those going through a ‘life transition’ – leaving home, entering the world of work or falling in to the category known as ‘NEET’, starting or leaving university, the failure of a major relationship or becoming a parent are more likely to be experience loneliness
- 53% of young people have felt depressed because they felt alone
Recommendations of the Report
- Increased monitoring of loneliness through the Office for National Statistics
- Loneliness incorporated in local authorities strategies for engagement with young people
- The adoption of the Scottish Government’s ‘Getting it Right for Every Child and Young Person’ (GIRFEC) outcomes framework
- A Deputy Mayor for Young People to ensure strategic oversight of youth service provision and to promote the interests of this often overlooked demographic
- A Mayor’s Fund for Young People’s Resilience and Inclusion worth £3.2 million to help ensure that young people have built the necessary strong social connections
Worth-it Projects Approach to Loneliness in Young People
We work with schools, organisations, and communities to help people learn, develop, and use skills that improve mental wellbeing.
Among the many services offered by us we have also developed an innovative, evidence-based positive education programme for young people to help them develop essential skills to improve mental wellbeing. ‘FIRST’ is a targeted intervention that has been co-produced with young people and is underpinned by positive coaching psychology.
We also offer targeted coaching for school students aged 13 and over who are falling behind due to problems inside and/or outside of school, including loneliness caused by a specific life event or social exclusion/isolation. These problems may be impacting behaviour, attendance, academic performance or overall mental wellbeing.
During 2014/15 we positively impacted upon 4,675 young people and our evaluation data shows, on average, a 77% decrease in levels of depression and an 81% decrease in levels of anxiety. Importantly, in relation to loneliness, there is a 66% improvement with respect to positive social interaction with peers.
We also help young people develop essential skills to build resilience and develop positive mental health. Resilience coaching for young people reduces stress and anxiety as well as improving behaviour, interpersonal skills and emotional problems, all of which help prevent loneliness and depression developing.
We have ongoing relationships with schools in Leicestershire, West Yorkshire, and Derbyshire and plan to expand across the East Midlands and UK. This could be either through working directly with young people or indirectly by providing training to the professionals, peers and parents who support them. Our goal is to lead a sustainable systemic change to a more proactive, preventative approach to improving young people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
To discuss any issues arising from this blog or to talk further about the range of services we offer, please get in touch today either by calling 01530 835155 or emailing [email protected]