The mental health charity YoungMinds has published the results of a survey of more than 7,000 young people under 25 who have looked for mental health support in the UK . The results show that:
- two-thirds (67%) of respondents said that they had been unable to find mental health support when they first needed it
- three-quarters (78%) of respondents said that they had had to manage their mental health on their own when they couldn’t find help elsewhere
- only 17% of respondents felt confident in their ability to manage their mental health by themselves
The charity is publishing the results as it launches Act Early, a campaign calling for a new government strategy for young people’s mental health, which would make early intervention a priority.
The survey also asked young people who had looked for support about factors that had had a significant effect on their mental health. The most common answers included pressure to do well at school (77% of respondents agreed), worrying about how you look (69%) and family problems (62%). Almost half of respondents (46%) cited traumatic experiences as a child as a significant factor.
A quarter of respondents (27%) said spending too much time on social media had had a significant effect, while 24% mentioned worries about what was in the news.
Many young people said that they had had to rely on friends, family and teachers for support when their problems first emerged. When asked where they had turned to for help while they were waiting for mental health support, young people most commonly said friends (71%), parents (63%), school counsellors or other support staff at school (56%), online (53%) and teachers (50%).
The sources of support young people had found most helpful were friends (50% of those who had turned to them said that they’d found them helpful, while only 17% had found them unhelpful) and teachers (49% said that they’d found them helpful, while 28% said they’d found them unhelpful).
Youth clubs and youth groups were also rated highly as places to find support (45% of those who’d looked for support through youth clubs found them helpful and only 21% found them unhelpful). But only a relatively low number of young people (13%) had been able to get help from them in their area.