The Young People’s Future Health Inquiry

Established by the Health Foundation, the Young People’s Future Health Inquiry is a cutting-edge project examining what building blocks young people need to build a healthy future. For more information please see the Health Foundation’s page for the Young People’s Future Health Inquiry.

Between the ages of 12 and 24, young people are making the transition from childhood to adulthood, from education to work. These are life-defining transitions and play a big part in people’s prospects for good health.

To build a complete picture of the fundamentals required for a healthy future, the Health Foundation partnered with Leaders Unlocked to hear directly from young people about their experiences, hopes and concerns for the future.

Leaders Unlocked recruited young researchers in five areas of the UK to work on the Inquiry. These young researchers talked to other young people in their communities and fed back their findings to the Health Foundation, UK experts, and local system leaders.

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How it Works

Recruitment: The first step in our youth-led approach was to recruit 80 motivated young people to become Young Researchers in five areas of the UK - Bradford, Denbighshire, Bristol, North Ayrshire and Lisburn. To do this, we worked proactively with the local organisations and system leaders who shape young people’s opportunities.

Co-design event: We brought these Young Researchers together to:
Learn about the Inquiry; its aims and background;
develop practical skills in communication, interviewing and active listening; and
co-design a process for peer research

Workshops and interviews: Supported by Leaders Unlocked local facilitators, the Young Researchers led conversations in a wide variety of local settings, including youth centres, schools, colleges, voluntary and community groups. This process allowed us to gather honest insights from over 600 young people across the UK, with a strong representation from marginalised and minority groups.

Evidence review and youth-led tours: Drawing together the results of conversations and workshops, each team of Young Researchers created a presentation and ‘map’ of the health assets in their area. In each area, the Young Researchers also developed and delivered a youth-led tour of their area, allowing the Health Foundation and visiting experts to observe first-hand the environments they live in and put conversations in context.

Q&A events: Peer Researchers presented their findings in each area to local system leaders and visiting UK experts.

Why?

The Health Foundation’s Inquiry has found that, while the wider picture is complex, there are opportunities to improve basic practical support in a number of areas. Themes emerged around learning practical life skills and taking part in wider society by participating in youth organisations. Clear evidence also emerged of the debilitating effect of spending cuts in youth services.

The Inquiry is now moving into its action phase, where the Health Foundation will explore the priority policy areas for young people’s health.

Testimonials

"The reason I got involved is because I have lived experience of a range of mental health issues. I got the opportunity to get involved, and it was a big deal to get out of the house, but I did it - three years later I have a career in mental health.”

Zara