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Mental health, young people and Citizens Advice

Mental health conditions have been rising among young adults. We know we can help but first must make ourselves better known.
Research & Campaigns Team (3 minutes)

The last few years have been tumultuous. COVID-19 and the cost-of-living crisis have intensified the challenges of everyday life. According to official statistics moderate or severe depressive symptoms among adults began rising as both took hold.  

Policymakers are particularly concerned about the growing number of young people affected.

In February Resolution Foundation, an economic think tank, released We’ve only just begun, a 3-year research project into mental health and work outcomes of young adults. Here are two of their findings:

‘Over 1 in 3 young people (aged 18-24) reported symptoms that indicated they were experiencing a common mental health disorder (CMD) like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder – a 10% increase from 2000.’

‘Young people with mental health problems are more likely to be out of work than their healthy peers – 21% people with mental health problems were workless, compared to 13%  without.’

Lost generation?

Commenting on the research the Health Foundation said the situation risked creating ‘a lost generation’. Policymakers should focus on ‘the building blocks of health such as good employment and education to ensure young people have the tools to move through the world as adults’.

At CAEE our research team think a lot about the intersection of health and the economy. Up to half of our clients have a disability or chronic health condition that other problems make worse. Conversely all the evidence is that enabling people to tackle the latter helps people better manage the former.

CAEE Young Client Issues

This is true for people of all ages, whoever they are, whatever their problems. And we know the most common issues – housing, debt, benefits, employment – are also similar (chart).

At present we don’t help as many young people as we would like, especially given the new research, but we’re set on sorting this in exciting ways.

First, our Citizens Advice name and ‘brand’ are not as well-known to under-30s as they should be. One way forward is from-the-ground-up partnerships with local schools and colleges:

Second, we love to welcome staff and volunteers of all ages and we’re delighted that a group of young colleagues recently joined us. Yandi, Anna, Ned, Chloe, Tish and others have come to learn and contribute to our charity. Their ideas, tech-native skills and fresh approach are a big plus.

And we’re convinced they’ll be great ambassadors – for volunteering but also the quality and value of Citizens Advice!

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