To: The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer,
As young people, we see ourselves and so many loved ones around us reach breaking point before accessing support. The current mental health system is crying out for help. From your recent time as Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, as well as your 6 years as Health Secretary, we know you have witnessed the devastating impact of the crisis.
While the current system is providing a safety net for some, there are too many holes – and young people are falling through. Children in England wait an average of 21 weeks for their first mental health appointment. While waiting for support, data suggests that around two-thirds of young people’s mental health gets worse, which can have devastating consequences. It can also mean they require more care in the future, putting additional strain on the NHS and costing the Treasury money. Early intervention is crucial.
Early support hubs allow young people to access support before problems escalate – and their positive impact is proven. That’s why we are calling on you to use the final budget of this Parliament to provide funding for hubs across the country, supporting young people to access support when they need it.
In 2021, the Health and Social Care Select Committee you chaired published a report that recommended the national rollout of early support hubs “so that there is a consistent, comprehensive community offer to complement available school-based and clinical support across England.”
It’s clear that you understand the importance of early support hubs.
While we welcome the funding that was recently awarded to 10 Early Support Hubs, this is far from the consistent approach that your committee recommended in 2021. Early mental health support shouldn’t be a postcode lottery.
Young people continue to grapple and fall through the cracks and more needs to be done to ensure this doesn't continue. Including more for those of us who are disabled. It sadly doesn't come as a surprise that 72% of young people with a disability are struggling to cope - even more so given the cost-of-living crisis.
All young people deserve access to support, all young people need access to support.
We need you to hear us and prioritise a solution that addresses the current crisis and aims to meaningfully combat it. We need you to take action. You can make a difference for hundreds and thousands of young people like us who are struggling with their mental health. Please use the Budget to invest in early support hubs.
Written by: YoungMinds Activists Nicole, Paddy, Jessica, and Stefano
Chloe Burrows, television personality and influencer
Sean Fletcher, broadcaster
FLO, R&B group
Dr Alex George, Youth Mental Health Ambassador
Rosie Jones, Comedian
Evie Meg, influencer
Jamie Shawyer, Footballer
Laura Bunt, Chief Executive, YoungMinds
Dr Phil James, Chief Executive, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dr Souci Frissa, Chief Executive, Black Thrive Global
Andy Bell, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
Amy Whitelock Gibbs, Chair, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition
Mark Russell, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society
Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Mind
Cassandra Harrison, Chief Executive, Youth Access