Young People’s Mental Health: Where to Get Help

Ellen Lees
By Ellen Lees,
updated on Dec 9, 2020

Young People’s Mental Health: Where to Get Help

A new study by YoungMinds highlights a major gap in young people’s mental health support, with 67% reporting being unable to find the support they need. Here's how you can access mental health support, from helplines to private therapy

The survey by mental health charity YoungMinds, exposes huge gaps in early mental health support for young people, and has highlighted that school pressure, body image and traumatic childhood experiences are common factors leading to poor mental health.

Speaking to more than 7,000 young people under 25 who have looked for mental health support in the UK, YoungMinds found that two thirds (67%) of young people were unable to find mental health support when they first needed it.

78% said that they had to manage their mental health on their own after not being able to find help elsewhere. Yet just 17% said they felt confident in their ability to manage their mental health by themselves.

The charity is publishing the results as it launches their new campaign, Act Early. The campaign calls for a new government strategy for young people’s mental health, which would make early intervention a priority.

The survey also asked about the factors which had a significant effect on respondents’ mental health. The most common answers included pressure to succeed in school (77%), worrying about appearance (69%) and family problems (62%). Almost half of respondents (46%) reported traumatic childhood experiences being a significant factor.

27% said that spending too much time on social media had a significant effect, while 24% mentioned worrying about what they see in the news.

Many young people reported relying on friends, family and teachers for support. While waiting for mental health support, respondents said that they commonly relied on friends (71%), parents (63%), school counsellors or other support staff (56%), online (53%) and teachers (50%).

“These results show how hard it can be for young people to get help when they first start to struggle,” said Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YoungMinds. “We know that the impact of leading it too late can be devastating.

“We’re seeing welcome investment in NHS mental health services, and some positive initiatives in schools, but, with rising demand, it won’t be enough to meet the need.

“It’s vital that we ensure that the right help is available when young people first need it. We know that local support, through youth clubs or local charities, can be incredibly helpful - but this is something only a small number of young people are able to get. It’s far better to make sure young people can get help early, rather than add to the numbers needing specialist support.”

Where to get mental health support

Crisis Support

If you are in crisis and are concerned for your own, or someone else’s safety, call 999 or go to A&E as soon as possible. You can also text the YoungMinds Crisis Messenger for free 24/7 support across the UK, text YM to 85258.

To talk to someone immediately, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or email them on [email protected]. The Samaritans are available 24/7 and are completely anonymous. If you need to talk, they are there to listen.

Mental Health Helplines

Mind offers advice Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm except bank holidays. Call 0300 123 3393 or email [email protected].

Childline is a confidential line for children to call for help and advice about any issue. Call 0800 1111 or visit their Childline 121 Counsellor Chat to speak to a professional.

The Mix provide information, support and listening for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or speak to their team via 121 chat or Crisis Messenger.

NSPCC offer support and help for children affected by abuse. If you need help and are 18 and under, call Childline on 0800 1111. If you are worried about a child, call 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected].

Counselling Services

Youth Access offers a directory of local youth information, advice and counselling services for young people aged 14-25.

Counselling Directory lists thousands of counsellors and psychotherapists across the UK. Specialising in a number of issues, visit Counselling Directory to find a therapist.

LGBTQ+ Support

Mermaids UK offers family and individual support for gender diverse and transgender children and young people. Call 0808 801 0400 or email [email protected].

Stonewall is the UK charity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. They offer information, advice and where to get local support. Visit their Information Service or call 0800 050 2020 for more information.

For more information, visit our A-Z list of mental health support page.

If you are a young person struggling with mental health, please know that you are not alone and that support is available. As well as the charities and organisations listed above, you can also visit your GP for advice who may refer you for further support and treatment via the NHS.

We have a number of articles that aim to inform, educate and raise awareness, and help you manage issues and look after your general health and wellbeing, including:

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