Liverpool hosts youth mental health conference

Leading experts have come together in Liverpool to discuss a solution to the growing mental health crisis in the UK.

One in ten young people now suffer from a mental health disorder but only 14% received appropriate care in crisis.

Organisations including Young Minds, Big Lottery Fund and leading GPs attended a conference at Liverpool Town Hall to discuss the growing issues and where improvements need to be made.

Merseyside Youth Association, which delivers the project funded through Big Lottery Fund’s Talent Match programme in Liverpool, hosted the event.

Talent Match is a programme which offers intensive mentoring to young people, supporting them to change their lives for the better.  The Liverpool programme has been one of the big success stories in Youth Mental Health and has helped hundreds of young people every year who have been out of education, training or work.

During the event Sheffield Hallam University presented their research on the findings of the Talent Match Programme and concluded that the Liverpool programme in particular, has shown genuine innovation and a real opportunity to influence young people.

Gill Bainbridge, chief executive at Merseyside Youth Association said:

“Two years on and we are really seeing the success that Talent Match has had.  The programme has helped hundreds of young people, many who have faced huge challenges, supporting them to break down the barriers they have to employment, whether that is an emotional, social or language barrier.  The model has worked so well in the city that we now have the welcome news of more funding to expand the work to a wider age group.”

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund England grant-making director said:

“So far 10,000 young people across England have successfully transformed their lives through Talent Match projects enabling them to develop their skills and go on to get jobs. Key to the projects has been the involvement of young people in developing the projects to match their needs and ambitions. Through continued development of their skills each will be in a stronger position to manage their mental health and well-being.”

Talent Match aims to help people who are furthest away from the labour market. This includes people who have been on the work programme for over 18 months – or those on lone parent, incapacity or ESA benefits, as well as those outside the benefits system.

In the last year, the programme in Liverpool has helped over 600 young people, including Agnes Williams. After moving from Africa aged 15, her relationship with relatives in Liverpool broke down and she found herself living in a hostel. With the help of Talent Match, she now has qualifications and a full-time job – and she was the winner of England’s first Youth Of The Year Award.

Nick Small, deputy mayor, who attended the event and is a big supporter of Talent Match, said:

“Young people are now facing huge challenges to their mental well-being and linked with that is the challenge they face in entering the labour market.  Added to this, there is less support than ever, with huge cuts to mental health services.  Doing nothing is not an option and all partners form NHS Trusts to City Councils, to innovative programmes like Talent Match need to work together to tackle this issue.”

For more details about Talent Match, visit the Merseyside Youth Association on Hanover Street or visit

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