New research shows that youth work improves young people’s ‘mental health outcomes’

Almost three quarters of young people across the country say they have friends who genuinely care about them because of their involvement in youth work, according to Ireland’s largest youth organisation.

outh Work Ireland has recently launched its new campaign ‘Mental Wellbeing Revolution’ which aims to highlight the ‘vital’ role youth work plays in improving the mental health of young people across Ireland.

The charity and its advocates have called for recognition of the “vital contribution that youth work makes to improving the mental health of young people across Ireland”.

New peer-reviewed research, published in a special issue of the Journal of Youth Voice, focusing on measuring outcomes in youth work, shows that daily youth work is “proven to improve the mental well-being of young people”.

The research also shows that 70 percent of young people say youth work gives them someone to talk to when they have a problem.

This new study, led by Dr. Leighann Ryan Culleton of Wrexham Glyndŵr University shows that youth work builds “meaning and connection”.

dr Ryan Culleton has spoken to young people across Ireland for her research, including those who have participated in youth clubs, initiatives and programs and those who have not.

“My research clearly and directly demonstrates the significant role that youth work plays in supporting the well-being of young people,” she said.

“What is particularly striking is that it demonstrates how youth work reinforces and cultivates positive emotions, commitment, supportive relationships and meaning in the lives of young people who participate.

“These are significant and important findings given the wealth of evidence highlighting that strong well-being contributes to good mental health and acts as a guardian of our mental health.”

Youth Work Ireland works with young people across Ireland who have lower levels of connection, meaning and positive emotion than the general Irish youth population.

This new study shows that after working with Youth Work Ireland, these young people’s levels of connection, support, positive emotions and meaning have increased.

The study shows that after engaging in youth work, 68 percent of young people reported experiencing positive emotions in their daily life, and two in three young people felt a sense of fulfillment and meaning in their daily life.

Youth Work Ireland’s 20 member services across the country work with over 76,000 young people every week.

In addition, the charity’s headquarters and 20 members collectively offer over 40 different specialized one-to-one listening and advocacy support services specifically addressing mental wellbeing.

Youth Work Ireland also reached over 4,000 young people last year through 20 specialized mental wellbeing programmes, including the Friends for Life intervention, recognized as the ‘gold standard’ by the World Health Organisation. New research shows that youth work improves young people’s ‘mental health outcomes’

Fry Electronics Team

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