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Pro Bono Economics has carried out a report for YCT Support, helping to demonstrate and present the impact of the charity’s counselling and therapeutic support.

YCT Support provide a range of counselling and therapy services to young people, mainly in Harlow, Essex. One of the most deprived districts in Essex, it has the third highest number of children and young people living in poverty in the county. However, YCT has grown in size since being founded and now provides support to community and educational establishments across Essex, Hertfordshire and Greater London. Clients are not charged for YCT services, which address a range of complex issues and aim to help young people and their families navigate through challenging times.

YCT approached PBE to undertake an assessment of their current impact measurement, and attempt to discover the economic benefits to society. The results were impressive: their 2015/2016 counselling achieved at least 90 cases of improved mental health and mental disorder prevention. Based on assumptions about how these impacts may persist over time and into adulthood, the study estimated total saving over the lifetime of the group could be £8.3 million, representing a potential cost-benefit ratio of £1:£20 for YCT.

PBE volunteers also helped YCT create a Theory of Change, to help identify the charity’s outcomes and the activities which produce them. This visual tool helps to explain impact to funders, or other people outside the organisation.

In addition to the above, the report sets out recommendations for the future, helping them to shape their internal data collection and usage. These proposals aim to provide the charity with an idea of their future progression and external developments. This report could help to advise the sector as a whole on the cost of mental health in children and young people.

Nathalie Larsen from the National Audit Office was matched with this project, and we would like to thank her for the time and effort she invested into the project.

17th October 2017