MIND Not Making the Grade

In 2022, MIND commissioned a report into mental health access and secondary school education and the findings indicate that young people’s needs are failing to be met. For many young people who have experienced poverty, chaotic home lives, overwhelming trauma and are struggling with mental health find taking part in school life a huge challenge.

Further to this, young people who expressed a mental health problem or responded to trauma with anger or unable to meet deadlines or complete homework were disciplined, punished, isolated or excluded which contributed to worsening their mental health. contributed to worsening their mental health.

In the data gathering stage of this comprehensive report, MIND appointed Voyage as a survey partner, seeking the support of Voyage to address the lack of representation of young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

Voyage was commissioned to carry out a survey focused on this group of diverse young people. 183 young people took part in Voyage’s survey, 27% of which identified as experiencing personal mental health problems. There were highest levels of participation from young people who identified as Black or Black British (60%) or Asian or Asian British (15%). 53% identified as female, 42% as male and 3% as non-binary.

Of 74 young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds aged 14-21 who took part in discussions and focus groups on mental health, racism, and their experiences at secondary school: 19% had experience of mental health problems. 42% of young people identified as male, 54% as female and 3% as non-binary.

Voyage also participated in gathering the views of mental health and education professionals. We surveyed 987 school staff, mainly teachers and teaching assistants, and interviewed 33 professionals working in a range of roles supporting young people attending secondary school.

These included teachers, Education Mental Health Practitioners and mental health professionals working for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), supporting young people experiencing severe and long-term mental health problems. Other organisations involved include The Young Lives Foundation, Friends, Families and Travellers, and ONYX Youth Hub.

Voyage aimed to amplify the involvement of young people of colour in its survey, addressing the previous lack of diversity among contributors. To elevate the voices of young black individuals, Voyage initiated a social media campaign that resonated with the broader black community. Through a series of focus groups and workshops, we successfully enhanced the participation of young black community members, enriching the survey’s contributions significantly.

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