Three young people sitting and talking together in a livingroom.

Record emergency referrals for under 18s

Leading charity YoungMinds has found the number of young people referred for emergency mental health services has reached a record high, according to the latest NHS data.

In May 2022, 982 young people were referred to crisis care teams, the highest figure since before the pandemic1. The figure is also a 37% increase on the previous month, highlighting how many young people are struggling to access timely support.

The charity also found that open referrals to Children and Young People’s mental health services for the month of May reached a record high with referrals reaching 457,386, breaking the previous record high in March 2022. 

This comes after recent data from YoungMinds revealed just over a quarter (26%) of young people said they had tried to take their own life as a result of having to wait for mental health support.2

YoungMinds is campaigning for the Government to end the crisis in young people’s mental health and prioritise their concerns in the upcoming 10 year mental health plan.

These numbers paint a shocking picture of the situation young people in this country face when it comes to their mental health.
For years, politicians have promised that they will get a grip of the crisis in young people’s mental health, including a recent commitment to a ten year plan. But the reality is that month after month we are seeing devastating new records of young people struggling to get treatment and support for their mental health, and month after month we are left waiting for the Government to take action and end this intensifying crisis.
We urgently need to see a reversal in climbing waiting lists and record referrals figures. The Government must urgently equip the NHS to deal with the immediate pressures services face. But they must also make sure they keep their promise in delivering a mental health plan that has a real focus on young people and sets clear goals, across the whole of government, for addressing this crisis.
Olly Parker, YoungMinds' Head of External Affairs

We're calling on all young people to demand the Government keep its promise to end the crisis in young people’s mental health, to find out more take a look at our campaign #EndTheWait.


For further information and for interview requests please contact or call 0203 861 2072.

[1] NHS Digital (2019-22) ‘Mental Health Services Monthly Statistics 2019-22.’ Published August 2022. 

[2] 13,887 young people aged under 25 completed YoungMinds’ survey between 13 June 2022 and 07 July 2022. This sample was self-selecting and is not nationally representative. The responses were shared anonymously with the Government as part of its call for evidence for the ten-year Mental Health Plan.

The charity previously published results from surveys with young people about the mental health impact of COVID-19

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 helpline on 0808 802 5544

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