An adult and a child wearing M&S clothes smiling. Logo reads: "M&S | YoungMinds Together, we've got this"

4 October 2023 M&S and YoungMinds launch national charity partnership

M&S and YoungMinds launch national charity partnership as new research reveals 65% of young people have not asked for help with mental health despite struggling.

  • The new partnership aims to raise £5m and M&S kickstarts fundraising with £1m corporate donation - enough to fund vital YoungMinds services for a year.

  • New research commissioned to launch the partnership reveals the impact struggling with mental health can have on young people's education, work and relationships.

A child wearing M&S clothes smiling and looking to the side. Text reads: "M&S | YoungMinds - Together, we've got this."

M&S and YoungMinds, the leading mental health charity for young people, today launched a new charity partnership to raise awareness of the help available to young people struggling with their mental health. The partnership, which will provide funding and support for vital resources aimed at young people and the adults in their lives, launches as new research shows the majority of young people are still not asking for help with their mental health, despite struggling.

To support the new partnership, M&S and YoungMinds have commissioned new research to better understand young people’s mental health.

The research, published today, found that:

  • Despite struggling with their mental health, 65% of young people hadn't asked for any kind of support - with 33% of those saying they felt too embarrassed.

  • Loneliness is the biggest cause of mental health problems in young people with 44% saying loneliness had a negative impact on their mental health.

  • 61% of those waiting for mental health support had stopped attending school, college, university or work.

  • Almost two thirds (59%) said missing school made them feel isolated from their friends and early half (47%) said it made them worried for their future - impacting their mental health even further.

Outside of education and work the research also reveals the social consequences of not finding support, with many young people dropping out of sport, stopping exercise and hobbies, not seeing friends, and experiencing problems in relationships with families and partners.

The research clearly shows that waiting for support can lead to worsening mental health, with 41% of those seeking support saying their mental health had got worse while they were waiting. More than 20% of young people have waited more than six months for formal support.

The mental health of young people is a huge concern for many across the country and consistently tops the list of things M&S customers and colleagues say they care strongly about.

That’s why M&S and YoungMinds have teamed up to help get more support to more young people, more quickly. Working together the partnership will aim to raise £5m over the next three years, with M&S today announcing a £1m donation – enough to run the YoungMinds parents’ helpline for a year.

Two children and an adult smiling at the camera.

£5m will double the number of young people, and adults in their lives supported by YoungMinds to 7 million people, primarily through digital resources and the parents’ helpline. M&S will also help its 30 million customers and 60,000 colleagues understand more about young people’s mental health and feel able to have better conversations with young people who may be struggling.

When we asked colleagues and customers what issues were front of their mind, their family’s mental health was top of the list. It’s a growing issue which touches us all, with around five children in every classroom struggling.

The consequences of young people not getting help when they need it are clear, but there is also so much we can do to help young people get the support they need and prevent them reaching crisis point. YoungMinds brings practical help, hope and optimism to what can seem like an overwhelming problem, and that optimism is what will help us make a difference. Supported by our 60,000 fantastic colleagues and 30 million customers across the UK we want to create a coalition of the hopeful.

We have a huge opportunity to help YoungMinds raise awareness, support with much needed funding – which we’re getting underway today with a £1m donation from M&S – and perhaps most importantly to help people know what to do when a young person in their life needs some help. Together, we’ve got this.
Victoria McKenzie-Gould, Corporate Affairs Director at M&S
Young people today are experiencing pressures that are unique to their generation. Having grown up in a pandemic, they are now living through a cost-of-living crisis and in an increasingly unstable world. Referrals to services are at record highs, and too many young people are struggling without support.

This new research paints a picture of what happens to a young person when they are struggling, and worryingly reveals that many are still not seeking support. We know that when young people feel seen, heard and listened to, things can get better. This ground-breaking new partnership with M&S will help us reach more young people and the adults around them than ever before. Over the next three years, we will work together to show young people that they are not alone with their mental health and provide vital advice and guidance when they need it most.
Laura Bunt, Chief Executive of YoungMinds

The M&S and YoungMinds new research was conducted by Savanta who polled 2,056 16-24s that self-selected they had experienced mental health issues. The poll was conducted between the 28 August and 7 September 2023. Savanta is a member of the Market Research Society and British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

For further information please contact:

M&S Corporate PR team at corporate.press@marks-and-spencer.com or call 020 8718 1919.

YoungMinds Press Office at press@youngminds.org.uk or call 0203 861 2072.

About YoungMinds

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for young people’s mental health.

Follow us on Twitter @YoungMindsUK and Facebook.

For free advice and support for parents, call our Parents Helpline on 0808 802 5544.

Explore our site

More press releases