Building Resilience in Young People - Insight Report

An insight report from the LINKS team

Young people’s mental health and well-being is a constant topic of discussion in the media.  It is now well recognised that it is not enough to simply treat mental ill-health, more must be done to prevent it in the first place. One thing that is key to preventing mental ill-health is supporting young people to build resilience, particularly those who face adversities or challenges.

In policy terms, mental health received renewed focus in 2020  with the Department of Health’s (DoH) Mental Health Action Plan being published (DoH, 2020), which specifically mentions resilience and which complements existing policies and associated action plans, such as the following:

  • Protect Life 2 2019-2024, (DoH, 2019)

  • The Interdepartmental Action Plan (DoH, 2019) in response to ‘Still Waiting’ (NICCY, 2018)

  • The Children and Young People’s Strategy 2029-2029 (Dept of Education (DE), 2019)

  • the Infant Mental Health Framework (PHA, 2016)

  • The Programme for Government (NI Executive, 2017)

  • Priorities for Youth (DE, 2013)

  • Making Life Better: a Whole System Strategic Framework for Public Health (Public Health Agency, 2014)

and other developments such as the research undertaken by Dorris et al (2019) which contributed to Informing the Development of an Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework for Children and Young People in Northern Ireland for the Dept of Education and Public Health Agency (ongoing). In addition, June 2020 saw the appointment of an Interim Mental Health Champion by the Minister for Health.  The development of these policies pre date the COVID-19 outbreak but they are even more pertinent now as a result of the containment, it impacts and to ensure a successful recovery phase.

The Insight Report:

  • Explores definitions of resilience and messages from the evidence, a selection of LINKS grant holders and young people

  • Examines some local case study examples of practice that aim to build resilience with young people

  • Highlights key learning points

  • Provides a self-assessment tool for organisations to evaluate their current practice

  • Includes a reference and a resource list for further exploration into building resilience