Re-thinking youth work as initial mental health support for young people

Alison Ni Charraighe, Andie Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Youth work is a practice that supports young people and bolsters mental health and well-being. In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, young people in the UK have experienced rising levels of mental distress. However, in the broader youth policy field, youth work is rarely acknowledged as a mental health support. This article draws upon research uncovering to what extent youth workers provide mental health support for young people. A survey questionnaire was distributed to youth workers across selected local authorities in central Scotland and north-east England. Our original findings show that most youth workers provide initial mental health support for young people and, since the pandemic, this has become a key component of youth work practice. The youth workers surveyed were confident that they had the skills, experience and training to provide such support but were struggling to meet increased demand due to funding shortages in the sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalChildren & Society
Early online date11 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • England
  • mental health
  • post-pandemic
  • Scotland
  • youth policy
  • youth work


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