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Skills for combating loneliness in young people

Young man looking lonely

AIM’s L2 and L3 Youth Work qualifications have been updated to include new Level 2 and Level 3 components on tackling loneliness and isolation in young people.

According to a survey conducted by YouGov in 2019, nearly nine in ten (88%) Britons aged from 18 to 24 said they experienced loneliness to some degree, with a quarter (24%) suffering often and 7% saying they were lonely all of the time.

Now, with the added pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, things have got worse. A new government survey published on June 8, 2020, by the ONS looked at coronavirus and loneliness and described a phenomenon of “lockdown loneliness”. Collecting more than 5,000 individual responses during the UK's lockdown period (April 3–May 3, 2020), the survey found that the lockdown affected everyone asked. Thirty-one per cent reported that their well-being had been impacted by loneliness. 

Although the ONS survey included adults only, similar findings have been reported in young people. Place2Be, a UK-based organisation that provides mental health services in primary and secondary schools, found in a recent survey of over 200 frontline mental health professionals, that loneliness and isolation was the most common topic discussed by young people, parents and carers during the lockdown.

Place2Be, also discovered that a third (29%) of parents admit they would feel embarrassed if their child wanted counselling, and 34% feel other parents would judge them.

Jo Hartle from AIM identifies with the fact that, loneliness is distressing, and over time, loneliness is associated with an increased risk of mental and physical health problems  “In the current climate, not only with physical isolation but increased issues around mental health through isolation and loneliness caused through online access, these modules equip the youth work professionals with additional knowledge to identify and facilitate a programme of activities to champion young peoples behaviours in response to it, through identifying both the causes and the effects of loneliness , in turn allowing Youth and Community workers to find solutions in order to engage and empower through positive non judgemental actions, these are important modules for the Youth Work toolkit of skills giving a solid foundation through which to grow specific youth work ideas and progression”.

New components

The two new components to the Level 2 and Level 3 Youth Work qualifications are: 

  • Loneliness and Isolation for Young People - Basic Youth Work Approaches L2
  • Loneliness and Isolation for Young People - Basic Youth Work Approaches L3

These new components look at different ways in which young people experience loneliness and isolation, looking at the possible causes and consequences this may have on young people. They have been developed in conjunction with the National Youth Agency (NYA) and Education and Training Standards (ETS).  

For more information, download a copy  of the qualification handbook.

AIM centres can begin to deliver these new components tolearners from 1st March 2021.

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