A parliamentary inquiry into the mental health of men and boys will today hear expert oral evidence from Leading children’s rights charity NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service).
Launched by The Women and Equalities Committee, the inquiry is looking at the issues that affect mental health for men and boys in a bid to establish what more can be done to address the problem. It will explore the different factors leading to mental health problems in men and boys, the barriers they face when accessing support and how frontline services can be more inclusive to overcome this.
Three out of four people who take their own lives are men and this is the biggest cause of death for men under 50 in England and Wales. Experts have described the growing incidence of mental health problems amongst men and boys as a ‘silent crisis’ and the inquiry committee recognises it as a ‘vast – but all too often invisible – problem.’
NYAS was invited to present evidence at Parliament after submitting a detailed written response to the inquiry earlier this year, and setting out a list of recommendations to help inform its decisions. The charity will use the opportunity to place a spotlight on the mental health issues faced by the care-experienced men and boys that it works with and to stress how the right support can prevent these individuals and others like them from spiralling into further difficulties.
NYAS also delivers advocacy services for children, young people and vulnerable adults who are patients in mental health settings across the UK.
Its recommendations include a call to ensure an active offer of independent advocacy services to children and young people receiving any tier of mental health support.
The charity is also recommending action to prevent care-experienced children, who have a higher risk of mental health difficulties in the first place, from being criminalised. It points to a dramatically increased risk of self-harm and suicide in men and boys who have grown up in care and then enter the criminal justice system.
Ben Twomey, NYAS Head of Policy and Research said, “We are very glad to have this opportunity to share with the inquiry the experiences of the men and boys we support who are facing mental health problems. As the inquiry has recognised this is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed urgently and we will do all we can to help provide informed guidance to the committee.
“Tackling the challenges in our mental health services is complex and will need to happen on a number of different levels, through changes to the education system, criminal justice system and care system, for instance. This is a first step to making those changes happen and NYAS will continue to support the process at every stage.”