Published on 30 April 2024

Youth First discusses the positive impact of emotional management support for children and young people

The NHS have reported that in 2023 about 1 in 5 children and young people aged 8-25 years are struggling with their mental health1

Practitioners working with vulnerable young people know from daily experience that despite the rise in worrying statistics like this, youth mental health services remain increasingly stretched, leaving young people without the professional support they need. Youth First has commissioned the first of what is hoped to be a series of workshops, to meet this need. Canice Stephen, Youth Play and Community manager, shares her experiences as a practitioner and mentor with Youth First’s pilot, Managing Anger workshop.

What prompted Youth First to look at support with managing anger?

A high percentage of young people referred to us need support around emotional wellbeing. The way young people communicate with each other, manage and regulate their emotions is key. Young people need a safe space to be able to express themselves and ask for help.

For some adults managing emotions can be a struggle. Imagine what it is like for children and young people to not only understand how emotions impact their physical and mental wellbeing, but to then put it into words and ask for help, it’s a huge process! As practitioners we’ve identified that anger is one of the hardest emotions for children and young people to regulate, control and understand, so we decided to begin there.

During the managing anger workshop sessions, what really struck you?

Young people were participating across an age range from 14 to 18 it was necessary that they felt comfortable and safe to express their feelings. Our objective was to encourage them to engage and complete the two-day workshop. What was great is that they not only wanted to stay for the sessions, but to have more and go further, which speaks to how important the need is for them to have this supportive space.

Do you think Youth First’s unique position in the community creates this safe space?

What makes our work so unique and special is that it's within youth clubs. Young people are in a familiar environment, that speaks to who they are. Directly after our workshop, many of the young people who had never met before, joined activities at our site. This is just one example of how the different provisions at Youth First work so well together to support the children and young people in the community.

What would you say to those that can fund and support this work?

Through our work at Youth First, we’ve identified that the management of emotions and social behaviours, are crucial. The impact goes beyond just one person, it’s felt through families, schools and the local community. When young people are given the right tools, in an environment where they feel safe and supported, they can move forward to navigate their world with confidence. 

Mental health support, schools and the NHS are stretched. That is why it falls on our particular work at Youth First, to offer a unique, safe space for children and young people. Anyone who can help us, from small donations to funding workshops, will provide the vital support we see in our work every day.


Youth First’s Managing Anger workshop was provided in partnership with Lewisham Council.

If your organisation can help, get in touch with our fundings team

If you can help with a personal donation or fundraising see our support us pages

Further information

Source 1: Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2023 NHS report 


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