Young people's mental health referrals hit a record high

Emily Whitton
By Emily Whitton,
updated on Aug 18, 2022

Young people's mental health referrals hit a record high

New data collected by the NHS reveals the number of young people referred to emergency mental health services rose by 37% in May this year. With NHS waiting times still climbing, Young Minds are asking the government to step up

This week, it was reported by the Independent that 982 under-19's had been referred to crisis care teams in May 2022. This reflects a 37% increase in referrals from the previous month and is the highest figure since pre-Covid.

At the same time, open referrals to young people’s mental health services reached 457,387, which greatly exceeds the record-breaking numbers seen in March of this year.

This information comes as the result of a recent report from Young Minds, which revealed that 26% of young people have tried to take their own lives due to the long waiting times for mental health support.

Young Minds are determined to change this and are asking the government to tackle this crisis in their ten-year mental health plan. Olly Parker, Young Minds’ Head of External Affairs commented on the issue, stating; “We urgently need to see a reversal in climbing waiting lists. The government must urgently equip the NHS to deal with the immediate pressures services face”.  

Accessing support for young people

Crisis support

If you or someone you know is struggling to cope, you can contact Young Mind’s messaging service, Shout, for free 24/7 support. ​​Text YM to 85258.

If you are in immediate crisis and are concerned for your safety, contact 999 or go to A&E.

If you want to talk to someone anonymously, the Samaritans are available 24/7 to listen to you and your concerns. You can contact them on 116 123 or email [email protected].

Mental health help and advice

There are various services available to young people that offer free advice and support for a range of issues.

Mind offers advice Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm (except on bank holidays). You can call 0300 123 3393 or email [email protected]

Childline offers a safe space to discuss any issue with a counsellor, using their 121 chat, or you can call 0800 1111.

For those affected by abuse, the NSPCC is there for you. If you’re concerned about a child, call 0808 800 5000 or you can email [email protected].

The Mix is a great support tool for anyone under the age of 25. They have a 121 chat service and crisis messager, or you can call 0808 808 4994 for information, support, and to simply be listened to.


If you or someone you know is struggling and is looking for support from a counsellor or therapist, you can find a qualified professional listed on the Counselling Directory.

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