Why Greater Manchester?

Discover why the city-region has been chosen to pioneer this new approach to assessment and support for young people’s wellbeing.

  • Greater Manchester is the only city-region in England with a devolved health care budget and so has the capacity, structures and ambition to deliver services on a holistic basis.
  • The north-west has the third highest prevalence rate of mental health difficulties among under-19s in England1.
  • The city-region is one of considerable social and economic contrast across its 10 localities, including some of the most deprived and least socially mobile areas in England2. Compared to the national picture, there are:
    • over 30% more looked after children;
    • 20% more young people living in low income families;
    • over 20% more households with a lone parent and dependent children;
    • nearly 10% more adolescents classified as obese at age 11;
    • 15% more under-18s with a Social Services assessed need;
    • nearly 10% higher unemployment levels3.
  • These social factors influence the level of mental health-related need in the city-region, for example children in low income families are nearly twice as likely to experience mental health difficulties as their more affluent peers1.

Practical and policy changes already underway

  • Systematic assessment and monitoring of young people’s mental health and wellbeing has not yet been established in the city-region, though there is clear interest among stakeholders, such as the introduction of the Life Ready Survey.
  • Greater Manchester is already allocating significant resource to improving mental health and wellbeing; it now needs better evidence to direct its various policy initiatives most effectively.
  • The Greater Manchester Living with COVID Resilience Plan identifies the educational and social impacts of the pandemic as a key challenge, particularly in respect of disadvantaged children and families. Supporting successful return to school for all learners (including catch-up and wellbeing support) is a shared priority4.
  • The Greater Manchester Children and Young People’s Plan 2019-2022 pledges to “invest in mental health and resilience for children and young people”5.
  • The Greater Manchester Mentally Healthy Schools and Colleges programme, funded as part of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership transformation plan6, is currently in the process of being scaled up across the city-region.
  • The Greater Manchester Work and Skills Strategy pledges to move towards a future system where young people are well prepared for the world of work and further study7.
  • The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has confirmed his personal support for the programme.
  • Greater Manchester needs the evidence to focus its support and policy interventions and improve the lives of all its young people, regardless of their background and the challenges that they face. Our young people are key to the future health, wealth and happiness of our region and the achievement of our levelling-up ambitions.

Case studies

Find out more about our work with local authorities in Greater Manchester.


(1) NHS Digital. Mental health of children and young people in England, 2017. London; 2018.
(2) Social Mobility Commission. The long shadow of deprivation: Differences in opportunity across England. London; 2020.
(3) Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Greater Manchester children and young people health and wellbeing framework 2018-2022. Manchester; 2018.
(4) Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Living with COVID resilience plan. Manchester; 2020.
(5) Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Children and Young People’s Plan 2019-2022. Manchester; 2019.
(6) Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership. Taking charge in Greater Manchester: the ambition for primary care. Manchester; 2016.
(7) Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Greater Manchester work and skills strategy and priorities 2016-2019. Manchester; 2016.