Bishop of Oxford – more mental health funds needed due to Covid and rise in youth unemployment

On 15th October 2020 Lord Baker of Dorking asked the Government “further to the estimate by the Office for National Statistics in Labour market overview, UK: October 2020, published on 13 October, that approximately 60 per cent of those unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are aged between 16 and 24, what action they are taking to reduce youth unemployment.” The Bishop of Oxford asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I thank the Minister for the compassion and passion in her answers but, as we must acknowledge, this is a very serious situation. The Resolution Foundation now forecasts that unemployment among the 18 to 29 year-olds could triple to 17% by late 2020—a level not seen since 1984. Given the well-established link between unemployment and mental health, and the risks of a mental health epidemic, will the Government undertake to fund support for additional mental health provision, in addition to the education and employment initiatives which she has unpacked, to support this very hard-pressed and vulnerable Covid generation?

Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): I will say to the right reverend Prelate that we do not underestimate the seriousness of this situation. I think that we are all mindful of the impact that it can have on the lives of all those who are affected by unemployment. On the question I have been asked about mental health, I am not sure what support, fiscally or otherwise, is available, but I shall talk to my colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care and write to the right reverend Prelate to confirm it.