Press release

Call to improve young people’s health and wellbeing in the West Midlands

PHE urges public health stakeholders to provide better and more joined up services for young people across the West Midlands.

Teenage boy on a gym machine and a male trainer showing him what to do

Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands is inviting public health stakeholders to join forces in providing better and more joined up services for young people across the region.

PHE’s ‘Improving Young People’s Health and Wellbeing’ framework will be the focus of a regional conference on Friday 5 June, held at West Midlands Fire Service headquarters in Birmingham.

The framework, for people aged 10 to 24, provides guidance and practical support on issues such as tackling teenage pregnancy, smoking and drug use, as well as promoting positive mental health.

PHE’s findings show that, despite significant improvements over the last decade, young people in England continue to have poorer outcomes in life, compared to many other high-income countries; with teenage birth rates remaining among the highest in Europe, while the proportion drinking alcohol is still well above the European average.

In the West Midlands region in 2013 there were 3,009 conceptions to under-18 year olds, a rate of 28.9 per 100,000. This is a 44% drop since 1998, but the under-18 conception rate is higher than the England average of 24.3 per 100,000 in 10 of the 14 county or unitary council areas of the West Midlands. Hospital admissions due to alcohol specific conditions in people under 18 (for years 2010 to 2011 and 2012 to 2013) were at a rate of 44.5 per 100,000 in the region, also higher than the England rate of 42.7.

The conference is an opportunity for public health staff from local authorities across the region to join with other organisations which provide and commission young people’s services (such as emergency services, hospitals, colleges and charities), to find more effective ways of working together to implement positive change for young people in the West Midlands.

Delegates will also see how West Midlands Fire Service’s ‘Safeside’ education centre helps young people stay safe through dealing with risks such as crossing a busy road, witnessing anti-social behaviour or discovering a fire.

Dr Lola Abudu, Health and Wellbeing consultant with PHE West Midlands, said:

Young people between 10 and 24 years old are at an age where they are learning how to look after themselves, but also when they can start doing things that will cause them harm long into adulthood. They need services that provide for their needs, delivered in a way that is easily accessible and youth-friendly. Relationships with other people are at the centre of health and wellbeing for young people - with friends, family, teachers, role models and others in the local community all being important.

Through this conference we hope to help service providers develop good relationships that support young people and prevent them from suffering poor health, both while they are young and as they grow older.

Steve Vincent, Strategic Enabler of Community Risk Management for West Midlands Fire Service, said:

Our Safeside learning centres allow young people to experience the risks they will encounter as they grow up. Thousands of children visit every year and can think in a safe environment about how to make their own decisions to avoid danger and harm.

In the lead up to the conference and throughout the event, delegates and local stakeholders are encouraged to join in the conversation on improving support for young people in the West Midlands by posting on Twitter using #YPFramework.

Background

  1. The Improving Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Framework is based on 6 principles:
    • put relationships at the centre
    • focus on what helps young people feel well and able to cope
    • reduce health inequalities
    • champion integrated services
    • understand changing health needs as young people develop
    • deliver accessible, youth-friendly services
  2. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. www.gov.uk/phe Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @PHE_UK @PHE_WestMids

  3. West Midlands Fire Service Safeside centres at Eastside and Handsworth are two experiential learning centres that provide innovative, interactive and enjoyable learning environments, inspiring visitors to think and act safely.

  4. The figures above are taken from Public Health Profiles, available at: fingertips.phe.org.uk

PHE West Midlands press office

Public Health England
5 St Philip's Place
Birmingham

Published 3 June 2015