Advising with empathy and experience

Mental health support for young people.


Three out of four parents say their children's mental health deteriorated while waiting for NHS support, according to a report by charity YoungMinds.

The report says that a fresh approach is needed to supporting young people, including more help from local community groups.

Without this, young people could start to self-harm, become suicidal or drop out of school, the report says.

The YoungMinds report says there is "a black hole in youth and community services" where essential early support could be provided.

The report adds that hundreds of youth centres had closed, and thousands of youth workers had been lost, which meant young people had fewer trusted adults to help them cope.

The charity is calling for extra investment in youth clubs, churches, cafes or hostels to provide this local support.

The charity's survey of more than 2,000 parents and carers whose children have looked for mental health support, found that 76 per cent said their children had become more unwell before they could access treatment; 86 per cent of parents whose children had waited more than six months said their offspring's health had deteriorated, including 64 per cent who said their children's mental health had deteriorated a lot.

Meanwhile, a total of 69 per cent said neither they, nor their children, had been told of any other form of support while they were waiting for children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

The charity says the government's recent plans to introduce mental health support teams in schools were a step in the right direction, but would cover "less than a quarter of areas by 2022-23.”

NHS England said funding was rising for mental health services for the young, and further priorities would be set out in a long-term plan for the NHS.

A spokesperson said: "The NHS is only halfway through an ambitious programme of transformation where access to mental health services will significantly expand by 2021 and an additional 70,000 children and young people will get help."

NHS England said the government, schools and councils would all need to work together to meet the needs of children and young people.

Chief executive of YoungMinds, Emma Thomas, said: "The crisis in young people's mental health is real and it's urgent.

"Crucially, we also need to invest in new ways for young people to get help early on, before they require more specialist treatment.

"Every community must have spaces where young people can go to feel safe, work through how they're feeling, and learn strategies to help them manage and start to feel better."

Chairman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, said he wanted to see councils and schools given the funding to offer independent mental health counselling so that pupils have access to support when they need it.

He said: "We need to develop a system that says "yes" to all children and young people, rather than "no" when they ask for help. Children and their families need help and support right now - depression, anxiety, bereavement and family crises do not wait

"The government also needs to work with the LGA and councils to make sure this is a local area-led approach, rather than just NHS."