Depression among the young at alarming level?

5 Jan 2009 by Karl Hallam

On the first day of the year when work is unavoidable, for those people still lucky enough to have a job, a headline like the one above, is well ... depressing. On the other hand if you read the article things are not so clear cut.

The first thing to look for as an organisation such as Cadence, with an interest in public policy relating to young people, is how may people were interviewed during the research that lead to this headline. The answer is 2,000, which is pretty good really.

Just below the figure 2,000 Peter Kellner, of YouGov, which conducted the research, says the majority of young people had a generally positive outlook on life, which is less alarming. He warned, however, that the serious concerns of the "core" of unhappy people under the age of 25 "need to be addressed". The article adds that according to Kellner failing to take the issue seriously "would be storing up big problems for the future".

Like almost all articles in any media at the moment it has to refer to the credit crunch/recession/depression* (*delete depending on mood/preference), suggesting that 'the situation is likely to worsen as recession takes hold'. Is this true? Should the Clubs for Young People Blueprint for club based youth work recommend credit crunch counselling as a core activity in modern youth clubs?

In some ways relating it to the credit crunch lessens the impact of the finding that lots of young people feel depressed. Our consultation work suggests that youth clubs should offer the opportunity for non-parental adult support for young people, regardless of the current level of interest rate or growth in the economy, all year round, every evening and every weekend.

Many in the sector would welcome Gordon Brown's approach of bringing forward capital projects, like new youth centres, not just to create jobs, but because they can be a valuable community resource. The kind that have suffered first in public spending cuts in more recent recessions.



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