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Our message to Government on why they need to prioritise early mental health support

Together with The Children’s Society and Youth Access we held an online event to tell the Government and MPs about the need to improve early mental health support for young people. Here’s what we, along with our Activist Ben, told them.

About the event

Throughout our Beyond Tomorrow campaign we have been calling for the Government to take a long-term approach to young people’s mental health that prioritises prevention and early intervention.

That’s why, along with The Children’s Society and Youth Access, we brought together Baroness Barran (Minister for Civil Society), Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP (Shadow Minister for Mental Health), service providers and young people on Tuesday 24 November to hear about how we can make this happen.

During the event, we heard how historically mental health support for children and young people has been disjointed and inconsistent across the country, with young people waiting months to access help.

While the Government has taken steps to improve mental health support in recent years, the message was clear: this will not be enough to meet the growing demand, especially with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on young people’s mental health.

I think early support in the community is helpful for young people’s mental health as it can prevent smaller problems developing into more serious mental health issues.
Ben, Activist

Ben, one of our Activists, spoke at the event. Here’s what he had to say…

“I think early support in the community is helpful for young people’s mental health as it can prevent smaller problems developing into more serious mental health issues. Addressing these issues at an early stage or while someone is on a waiting list for another service can prevent their situation worsening and get them the help they need when they need it.

“When taking part in the panel event, I most enjoyed seeing how many people share this goal to improve early support services and that people with a high level of influence in the country were keen to listen to the issues that are occurring at a community level. It was reassuring to see what a priority mental health is becoming.”

When taking part in the panel event, I most enjoyed seeing how many people share this goal to improve early support services.
Ben, Activist

What do we think needs to change?

It is clear that as we recover from the pandemic, we need a new and systematic approach to young people’s mental health support. This is not just about strengthening mental health support in the NHS. To reduce the impact on the NHS, we must prioritise community-based early intervention so that young people’s mental health doesn’t reach crisis point before they get help.

At the event, we heard about the benefits that open access mental health hubs can have for young people that need support with their mental health. Open access mental health hubs provide young people with a space to access early and flexible support for their emotional wellbeing alongside issues such as sexual health, access to education and employment advice on a drop-in basis – up to the age of 25.

That’s why we are calling for the Government to invest in early community mental health support for children and young people by rolling these out to every area across the country. You can find out more about open access mental health hubs here.

Find out more about our Beyond Tomorrow campaign

It’s crucial that the Government commits to providing early support for young people’s mental health beyond the current crisis.

Find out more about our Beyond Tomorrow campaign and how we're campaigning for the Government to do this.

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