Mental skills training improves well-being and employment outcomes for homeless youth
Homelessness is a major social issue in the UK, costing the Government over £1 billion/year and resulting in the large-scale deterioration of mental and physical health, sustained social isolation, and low life expectancy. Young people aged 16-24 are disproportionately affected, particularly in Birmingham where youth homelessness was five times the national average in 2013-2014. These problems will persist and escalate into adulthood unless we support homeless young people to overcome their multiple and complex barriers to being healthier and economically independent.
My Strengths Training for Life™ (MST4Life™) is a programme developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham with St Basils, a homeless charity based in the West Midlands.
This is the first sport psychology intervention to be delivered in a housing service to homeless young people with multiple barriers to independence, and has led to significant improvements in their resilience, self-worth and well-being.
Participating in MST4Life™ increased the likelihood by 30 percentage points, over and above psychologically informed wrap-around support, that young people would exit homelessness engaged in education, employment or training.
We are looking to roll out this programme beyond the West Midlands and are actively looking for partners who could help us realise this aim.
Dr Jennifer Cumming
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