Mental health is a hugely important issue for young people - and this is the focus for YHP’s new UK programme which will operate in four locations over the next five years. It is a natural successor to the original UK programme, a study into homelessness among young people, which launched in 2010 at the very start of the YHP and which highlighted mental health as a central factor.
Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, pointed out the close link between mental health and the YHP’s core focus on addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in youth: “There is growing evidence that links mental health challenges in young people with negative long-term health outcomes, including increased likelihood of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs).”
These outcomes in the UK are worse for those in the poorest communities where young people live also adversely affects mental wellbeing. This continuing challenge has only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to control it - with 40% of girls in the UK feeling their mental health had deteriorated during the ‘lockdown’.
YHP UK is using youth-centred design and working shoulder to shoulder with young people, to focus on tackling their urgent mental health needs, and helping them realise their right to good health and wellbeing. Over the five years of the programme YHP UK will work with over 130,000 young people aged 10-24 starting with Manchester.
 Health Foundation, 2018, The social determinants of young people’s health Identifying the key issues and assessing how young people are doing in the 2010s. Available at https://www.health.org.uk/sites/default/files/The-social-determinants-of%20-young-peoples-health_0.pdf accessed October 2020.
 Nuffield Trust, 2020, Quality and Inequality – Digging Deeper Available at https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/resource/quality-and-inequality-digging-deeper accessed October 2020.
 Local Government Association, 2018, A matter of justice Local government’s role in tackling health inequalities. Available at https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/1.42%20public%20health%20inequalities_web.pdf accessed October 2020.
 Plan International, 2020, The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK – Early insights into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on girls. Available at https://plan-uk.org/file/plan-uk-state-of-girls-rights-coronavirus-reportpdf/download?token=gddEAzlz, accessed October 2020