10/01/2017 06:17 GMT | Updated 10/01/2018 05:12 GMT

Let's Talk About Mental Health

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After reading this year's Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index, there can be little doubt that 2016 has taken its toll on the UK's young people.

It saddens me to read the statistics which tell us that young people don't feel in control of their own lives and that they are more unhappy than ever, because these aren't just statistics to me, these are young people I've met.

I see the uncertainty in their faces and I know there are thousands more out there who aren't yet being helped by The Prince's Trust. It's no surprise to find out that 41% of young people are more anxious about life in general than they were a year ago. We are living in uncertain times where much is changing.

The challenge for young people is to find ways to cope with the obstacles life throws at them, but for those who feel desperate about their situation, these obstacles can seem insurmountable. The report shows that on top of worries about their own lives, many are confused about wider issues, not knowing what to believe about the economy as they read conflicting information.

If we can help provide a young person with the skills and confidence to get a job, return to education or take up a training placement, then we empower them with some certainty in their life. From that solid foundation, they can build a bright future for themselves.

What gives me hope is meeting young people at the end of their time on a Prince's Trust programme, young people with renewed purpose and belief in themselves, with coping skills and the ability to see through obstacles, and imagine themselves on the other side.

As the Government announces new measures to improve mental health services, we welcome the focus this brings to an area where we've seen an increased need for support amongst the young people who turn to us for help. We continue to work with government in the interest of young people and hope that the findings of the Youth Index will help shape future policy to improve young lives.

While the statistics are deeply concerning, I know there are solutions if we work together to provide the support they need. I know that through our work-based schemes and training opportunities, we can put those young people who don't feel in control of their job prospects, back in the driving seat. I know that by building confidence we can empower those who feel powerless to change their circumstances. And I know that young people deserve to feel that their futures are worth fighting for.

Through our Youth Index young people are saying they need our help, and our volunteers, staff, supporters and partners are all here to answer that need. We'd love you to join us.