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Released 30 September 2021 Letter to Editor calling for investment in early mental health support

Dear Sir,

Today, thousands of young people are writing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, calling on the Government to invest in early mental health support in the Spending Review. We, the undersigned, are in full support of them.   

We have seen an alarming rise in prevalence, with the number of 5–16-year-olds with a mental health problem increasing to one in six in 2020 compared to 1 in 9 in 2017. Despite greater investment in NHS services, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to even greater need, leaving services significantly overstretched.

Fewer than 40% of those under the age of 17 with a mental health condition are able to access NHS support. Too many young people are being left without support, which can have a devastating effect. This is why we are calling for the Government to invest in a national network of early support hubs to provide easy-to-access, drop-in mental health support for young people, on a self-referral basis.

Providing such support through early support hubs would ensure that a young person does not need to reach crisis point before they get help, and would also reduce pressure on NHS services. Hubs are proven to work, with a strong evidence base from examples in other countries, as well as in local areas across the UK.

All young people deserve to receive the mental health support they need, when they need it, no matter what. We urge the Government to listen to the young people who have written to them, and answer with a serious funding commitment in their Spending Review. 

Stephen Fry, Actor, Author, Broadcaster, Comedian and President of mental health charity Mind

Emma Thomas, Chief Executive, YoungMinds

Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, Director, Black Thrive Global

Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health

Norman Lamb, Chair, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition

Mark Russell, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind

Cassandra Harrison, Chief Executive, Youth Access

Pippa Goodfellow, Director, Alliance for Youth Justice

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive, Ambitious About Autism

Natalie Bailey, Chair, BACP

Andrew Radford, Chief Executive, Beat

Louisa Rose, Chief Executive, Beyond

Helen Marshall, Chief Executive, Brook

Geethika Jayatiaka, Chief Executive, Chance UK

Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England

Robin Barker, Chief Executive, Healthy Teen Minds

Dr Asha Patel, Chief Executive, Innovating Minds

Danny Hutchinson, Operations Director, Invictus Wellbeing

Louisa McGeehan, Chief Executive, Just for Kids Law

Tim Barker, Chief Executive, Kooth

Beth French, Chief Executive and Founder, Let’s Talk About Loss

Leigh Wallbank, Chief Executive, OCD Action

Shelly Whitehead, Director, Lock House Consulting Limited

Dr Amy Pollard FRSA, Director, Mental Health Collective

Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive, Mental Health First Aid England

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive, National Children’s Bureau

Claire Dorer, Chief Executive, NASS

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network

Alyson Wylding, Director, No5 Young People

Leigh Middleton¸ Chief Executive, NYA

Karen Black, Chief Executive, Off the Record Bristol

Dympna Cunnane, Chief Executive, Our Time

Ged Flynn, Chief Executive, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide

Jabeer Butt OBE, Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation

Jo Revill, Chief Executive, RCPCH

Dr Elaine Lockhart, Chair of Child & Adolescent Faculty, RCPsych

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness

Wendy Minhinnett, Director, Rollercoaster Family Support

Julie Bentley, Chief Executive, Samaritans

Sharon White OBE, Chief Executive, School and Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA)

Jon Salmon and Jo Emmerson, Directors, Speakers Collective CIC

Andrew Varley, Chief Executive, St Vincent’s Family Project

Juliet Hope MBE, Chief Executive, Startup

Rosie Tressler OBE, Chief Executive, Student Minds

Diana Ashby, Change Programme Manager and Deputising Chief Executive, The British Psychological Society

Clare Stafford, Chief Executive, The Charlie Waller Trust

Tessy Ojo CBE, Chief Executive, The Diana Award

Ndidi Okezie, Chief Executive, UK Youth

Anna Matthews, Chair of Trustees, UMHAN

John de Pury, Assistant Director of Policy/Mental Health lead, Universities UK

Rachel Kirby-Rider, Chief Executive, Young Lives vs Cancer

Joel Sutton, Chief Executive, Youth Mental Health Foundation

Claire Bethel, Consultant, Way Ahead