Young People Facing ‘Perfect Storm’

A social enterprise that delivers counselling services is offering free anger management courses as it predicts a rise in hidden mental health problems in lockdown.

A social enterprise that delivers counselling services is offering free anger management courses as it predicts a rise in hidden mental health problems in lockdown.

Citizen Coaching delivers 20,000 face to face counselling sessions a year via sixty counsellors, and has pivoted to online support to continue its essential services.

However, with 75% of clients aged 14 to 24 referred to its services via schools, youth workers and GPs, there’s a concern many young people in need of support will fall through the system as these services are closed during lockdown.

Martin Hogg, CEO of Citizen Coaching, said: “A huge amount of people will hit GP surgeries when the lockdown lifts. I see more people walking, jogging, cycling and saying hello to each other and bringing a sense of community, but there’s a whole lot of other people who are hidden, and struggling, sat on the sofa, really struggling. Those people will emerge and need some serious support.”

As well as a rise in the numbers in need of support, Martin estimates there will be mental health issues bespoke to Covid-19 for teenagers and young people.

He said: “We can predict some things. The death of your granddad, who you loved very much and you couldn’t see in the last four weeks before his death – and every time you turn the TV on they talk about what an agonising death he would have had –  it’s not going to be good for mental health.”

With social isolation, health worries, and exam and future career anxiety, it adds up to a ‘perfect storm’.

Martin explained: “So much has been drilled into this age group to do their exams, for university students to do their finals, and all of a sudden that’s been thrown in the air. They’ve lost control of their exams. If you’re sitting GCSEs or A-Levels the school will decide your grade. For university students there’s a fear – will the class of 2020 be seen as the people that never quite properly graduated? Because of the age group we work with, those are the main things we’ve seen – anxiety and how it will affect their long-term future.”

Issues Citizen Coaching will focus on will include confidence building, self-esteem, depression and anxiety and the consequences of home educating as some students will fall behind.

“As if young people don’t have enough to deal with in our society and the stress of social media, anxiety around Covid-19 will increase. Those who already have issues with anxiety see the world as a dangerous or difficult place, so people with anxiety issues are particularly affected by this.”

“There are consequences further down the line. Our job is to have an agile workforce that are ready, just as we’ve trained them to use online systems, we need to make sure we continue to upskill our counsellors to make sure they can meet these demands.”

Martin said: “We’re going to see a lot of people seeking help and we need to be ready to meet that challenge by making sure we’ve got a workforce that are ready to deal with it and systems in place to deal with that body of people.”

Citizen Coaching is one of hundreds of social enterprises that will be relied upon to not only kick-start the economy but deliver essential services. Citizen Coaching received investment from Key Fund, which provides loans and grants to community businesses.

Matt Smith, CEO of Key Fund, said: “Social enterprises are simply businesses with a social or environmental mission at their heart. Over the years, this movement has grown and is now at the forefront of tackling society’s biggest challenges, from homelessness, addiction, loneliness, poverty and inequality to the environment, with community-led green energy schemes, projects tackling food waste, and recycling enterprises.”

Matt added: “Social enterprises are of course struggling, like all businesses in lockdown, but they are crucially important during this crisis. The impending recession will compound the hardships already felt from austerity with rising inequality. Supporting the sector will help our communities recover. The social enterprise model supports local people to take control of the issues that matter to them – these people are working at the coalface of their communities, offering very real solutions to endemic problems.”

80% of Key Fund investments are in social businesses that operate in the top 30% most deprived areas on the indices of multiple deprivation.


To read hints and advice on looking after your mental well-being during Covid-19 go to Citizen Coaching website.

The social enterprise has also made its online anger management programme completely free; hundreds of people across the UK have already signed up, as families are cooped up together for weeks on end. It offers positive and practical ways to deal with any anger issues. Sign up from the website.



Citizen Coaching received finance from the Key Fund, a Community Development Finance Institution, that give businesses that ‘trade for good’ access to finance and business planning support.

Martin Hogg is willing to be interviewed or give tips/advice – please contact M: 07534892715 with any media queries.

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