Themes that arose in engagement sessions with young people:
- Mental health and depression were commonly raised through engagement exercises. Having the support of family and friends, and a safe place for friends to meet were key to working through problems. For some, not having anyone trusted to talk to was a specific issue. A key theme that emerged from the engagement exercises was the importance of having access to ‘normal’ networks of support was more important than having access to services.
- Boredom was raised by young people across the engagement exercises mainly with reference to the lack of available activities that they could engage with, or that information about what was available was not readily accessible.
- Learning difficulties/neuro diversity was a prominent issue and young people spoken to with these conditions felt that the experience of exclusion and stigma associated with having conditions such as ASD or ADHD or struggling with academic work had an impact on self-esteem, and mental health.
- Substance misuse – substance misuse was raised as a risk issue across all the engagement exercises. Young People viewed substance misuse as both a symptom of homelessness as well as a contributory factor.
- Challenges around the family dynamic were frequently cited as being important factors in young peoples’ future happiness and life outcomes