Mental health and youth employment make UK Youth Parliament manifesto for 2013

By Neil Puffett, Friday 03 August 2012

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Calls to improve mental health services, boost employment opportunities and provide young people with education on their legal rights have all made it onto the UK Youth Parliament’s (UKYP) manifesto for 2013.

A sitting of the UK Youth Parliament

The 12th annual UK Youth Parliament sitting was held in Nottingham. Image: UKYP

The objectives were among dozens discussed by 250 UKYP members at the 12th annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament, which was held in Nottingham last week.

Jaysen Sharpe, UKYP member for Taunton Deane and West Somerset, said he is personally keen for improvements to be made to mental health services.

“There’s a stigma about mental health and it is time we started seeing it with an unprejudiced view and provide better targeted support and education in schools,” he said.

“It is not necessarily about spending more money but the ways in which you spend the money you have. It doesn’t necessarily need a huge amount of capital. If mental health education was included with citizenship education it would result in more well-rounded young people who are aware of the world around them.”

Razzia Gafur, UKYP member for Newcastle, said the North East region put forward calls for the creation of more apprenticeships and employment opportunities for young people.

She said unemployment is an issue being felt by young people right across the UK, but warned the problem is particularly acute in the North East.

“We have the lowest employment rate for young people and we also get less 16-19 bursary payments than London despite our transport costs being higher,” she added.

Other motions that will appear in the UKYP manifesto include a call for minimum standards for local authorities to follow when consulting young people, and a call for advice and support centres for young people in every community.

Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) are now set to vote on which issues from the manifesto should be put to a national ballot of young people aged 11-18 across the UK.

The most popular motions emerging from the ballot will be debated at the House of Commons sitting of UKYP in November, where one topic will be chosen to be UKYP's priority campaign for 2013.

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