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12 March 2021

The London Assembly Health Committee has published its report, The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health of Children and Young People in London.

Our Chief Executive, Rosemary Watt-Wyness, gave evidence to the committee and is quoted in the report on the importance of youth work to young people’s mental health.

For a long time, even pre pandemic, youth workers were saying to us that it was difficult to access support from CAMHS because CAMHS was already stretched. They felt that they were holding, as a consequence, higher levels of mental distress among the young people they were seeing. Obviously, that has got much worse with the impact of COVID.”

There is such a huge differential in spend between hundreds of pounds in some boroughs down to tens of pounds in others. For the children and young people from low-income families that means there is effectively, in some areas, no safety net of youth services.”

It was highlighted that youth services are a particular lifeline for children from low-income families, but that provision across London is inconsistent between boroughs. In response to the Mayoral action on mental health, Ms Wyness asked for further clarification on the Mayor’s ‘New Deal for Young People’ mission which states that ‘by 2024 all young people in need are entitled to a personal mentor and all young Londoners have access to quality local youth activities’. The mission also recognises and endorses the importance of positive professional youth work and the positive relationships with mental and physical health and safety. While welcoming the initiative, Ms Wyness stressed the importance of focussing and supporting existing relationships with young people through their youth workers or within schools as opposed to creating new mentors.”

Click here to watch the committee meeting.


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