Mental Health and Socioeconomic Disparities in London

At any time in the UK and London, 20% of young individuals between the ages of 16-25 years experience a diagnosable mental illness. However, it is also clear that approximately 60% of the individuals in this age bracket also have a likelihood of fulfilling the criteria for a mental health condition at a given point in the course of the entire age range (NHS, 2017). For instance, in North Kensington, there is a high prevalence of poor mental health, thus falling within London’s highest 20%. Amongst individuals between the age of 16 and 25, it is evident that approximately 1 in 10 individuals are suffering from mental health. Moreover, unemployment is a major issue in this area, with 5,000 residents being unemployed due to lack of qualifications (Crime Stats, 2019). Locally, poor mental health among residents in North Kensington is the reason for the presence of long-term illnesses in the area and clearly, the wards in the area fall within London’s 20% highest incapacity benefit claimant rates, especially for mental health conditions. Of importance to note, is the fact that life expectancy amongst young people between 16 and 25 years old in North Kensington is 16 years lower for males, especially in most deprived areas as compared to other parts of Kensington and Chelsea borough (Crime Stats, 2019). Looking at Wastminster, evidence reveal that the individuals residing in wealthy areas experience a longer life expectance as compared to those in deprived areas. For instance, for men, the difference between the deprived and affluent regions in Westminster is growing and currently at 16.9 years. On the other hand, for women, it is evident that the difference lies at 9.7years (Westminster report, 2018).

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Knife crime has generally increased in the UK, owing to the fact that in about 2 killings in every 5, the victim was either assaulted using a sharp object, or even stabbed to death. Precisely in London, in the year 2018/2019, it recorded the highest rate of knife-related crimes (169 offences) per 100,000 people in the region (BBC, 2019). Westminster has been noted to be worse in terms of knife crimes, with its western part experiencing the highest rate of 35.5% of violence knife crimes per 10,000 people. Generally, gang violence in the UK generally has risen as the rate was at 1.2 in 2016 per 100,000 people and it rose to 1.23 in 2018 for 100,000 people (BBC, 2019). However, it is evident that in London, gang crime has gone down over the recent years, whilst gang violence has risen (Smith, 2019). Westminster has experienced an increased rate of gang violence, whereby the number of offences leaped by 57% between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 (City of Westminster, 2019). Considering country lines, NCA (2016) records that more than 46,000 children in the UK are forced to engage in country lines, whereas in London, more than 4,000 individuals have been identified to engage in country lines this year (London, 2019). In Westminster, country lines have risen in towns, as well as villages and at the same time, it has fallen in city centers. For instance, approximately 200 towns have witnessed an increase in country lines since 2013 (City of Westminster, 2019).

Peer support groups have been noted to be of significance to individuals suffering from mental health. For instance, they increase their self-esteem, enhance positive feelings in them and encourage them to have confidence (Information Support, 2018). On the other hand, to individuals affected by crime, peer support groups provide them with mentoring, emotional, as well as social support. Peer support is new in the UK and London. However, over the recent years, much emphasis has been put to value the presence of peer support. People over 25 years use peer support to feel encouraged on some difficult and stressful aspects in life (Information Support, 2019). Moreover, they use it to be able to fight through some long-term illnesses. However, it is evident that most vulnerable people do not receive this support, as it has not been adopted in most countries. Clearly, peer support is beneficial to individuals between 16 and 25 years as they enable them to have appropriate mental well-being, thus avoiding to engage in activities such as knife crime (Information support, 2018). Notably, physical activity sports can as well assist in the diversion towards antisocial behavior and crime among the youth as they keep their minds occupied, and this is a practicality of the saying, ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’

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References

BBC. (2019). London's knife crime hotspots revealed. Retrieved [online] from

City of Westminster. (2019). City Management and Public Protection Policy and Scrutiny Committee .Retrieved [online] from

Crime Stats. (2019). Kensington and Chelsea SNB presentation. Retrieved [online] from Metropolitan police. (2019). Kensington and Chelsea SNB presentation.

Information support. (2018). Is peer support right for me? Retrieved [online] from

London Datastore. (2019). A Public Health Approach to Serious Youth Violence: Supporting Evidence. Retrieved [online] from

NHS. (2017). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 [PAS]. Retrieved [online] from

Smith, E. (2019). Tackling gang and youth violence. Retrieved [online] from

Westminster report. (2018). Our Health, Our Wellbeing: young people growing up in Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster. Retrieved [online] from

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