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October 7th, 2011

Mental Health and Young People

In East London, mental health issues are prevalent amongst young people.  ‘Tower Hamlets has many of the risk factors for poor mental health. These include: high population density; overcrowding; high rates of unemployment and poverty; poor physical health; high rates of substance misuse’ (NHS Tower Hamlets, Public Health Priorities, 2010).  It is vital, then, that we act as positive adult role models to so that our young people can develop supportive, reliable relationships, for the Canaan Project (and many other youth workers) relationship is key, it is through these relationships that a variety of issues can be tackled while young people are on their journey towards adulthood.  And in addition, we help them achieve some fun and enjoyment in their lives.

I was struck as I thought about this recently, I attended a meeting with a variety of Youth Workers from a variety of contexts, there was a lot of talk about how we accredit our young people, as a means of marking progress and therefore success and therefore justifying our roles as youth workers. This is important, but equally for us at the Canaan Project we believe it is also equally important to give space to young people having fun and enjoy themselves, because can lead to relief of stress outlined in this report and as a result relief of mental health issues.