Experiencing mental health difficulties, and not receiving help can have a significant impact on a young person’s life. Here are some of the ways mental health problems can prevent young people from achieving their aspirations.
Mental health difficulties have also been linked with poor educational achievement and consequent a lifetime disadvantage.
Social research has identified that social relationships and interactions are also significant predictors of academic performance, and disruptive classroom behaviour directly influences pupil attainment (reference 1).
Being bullied during the later years of primary school has a strong association with lower attainment in secondary school (reference 2).
Research has indicated that observing bullying at school predicted risks to mental health. Observing others was also found to predict higher risk irrespective of whether students were or were not victims themselves (reference 3).
Mental health disorders were found to be significantly associated with termination of schooling prior to completion of each educational milestones, with odds ratios in the range of 1.3 to 7.0 (reference 4).
Further Education, Training & Employment
Recent research identifies that 11.7% of 16-24 year olds are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) (reference 5).
Research into the motivation and barriers to learning for young people who are NEET (reference 6) highlighted that some of their interviewees made references to mental health problems being a particular barrier to engaging in education and training.
Briefing papers (reference 7) have identified a number of key characteristics and risk factors of individuals who are NEETS. One of those key characteristics being: “Those who have been excluded or suspended from school are more likely to be NEET than those who have not”.
The House of Common briefing report also cites the ‘Against the odds’ report (reference 8) which reports the risk factors of a young person becoming a NEET:
A young person having supervision by the youth offending team can increase the chance of the individual becoming a NEET by 2.6%.
Disclosed substance abuse can increase the chance of the individual becoming a NEET by 2.1%.
Responsibilities as a carer can increase the chance of the individual becoming a NEET by 2%.
Life style, Families & Society
Poor mental health is strongly related to other health and development concerns in young people, notably substance abuse, violence, and poor reproductive and sexual health (reference 9).
It is important to highlight that although the research discussed above is valuable in developing our awareness and understanding of mental health difficulties for young people and the impact it has, it is also important to acknowledge that within each study there are methodological limitations. Therefore the information above should be used sensitively.
1. Flook L, Repetti R, Ullman J (2005). Classroom Social Experiences as Predictors of Academic Performance. Developmental Psychology, 41, 319-327
2. Gutman L and Feinstein L (2008). Pupil and school effects on children’s well-being. London: DCSF.
3. Rivers, I., Poteat, V.P., Noret, N., & Ashurst, N. (2009). Observing bullying at school: The mental health implications of witness status. School Psychology Quarterly, 24(4), 211-223.
4. Breslau, J., Lane, M., Sampson, N., & Kessler, R. (2008). Mental Disorders and Subsequent Educational Attainment in a US National Sample Psychiatr Res, 42(9), 708–716.
5. Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.
6. Department for Business Innovation & Skills (2013). Motivation and Barriers to Learning for Young People not in Education, Employment or Training.
7. Delebarre, J. (2016). Briefing Paper: NEET: Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training. House of Commons Library.
8. Audit Commission, (2010). Against the odds.
9.Patel, V., Flishe, A., Hetrick, S., & McGorry, P. (2007). Mental health of young people: A global public-health challenge. The Lancet, 369 (9569), 1302–1313.