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My reaction to the Autumn Spending Review

4 min read
03 November 2021

Our Chief Executive, Emma Thomas, reacts to the Spending Review and the lack of any new funding announced for young people’s mental health.

We will continue to loudly campaign and we will not stop until every young person gets the mental health support they need, as soon as they need it.
Emma Thomas, CEO of YoungMinds

The Government’s decision to not include any new funding for young people’s mental health in the Spending Review last week has come as a major shock. Given the pressures of the pandemic on young people’s mental health and the rising tide of referrals to services as a result, it is a decision that has ignored the reality of what thousands of young people are going through.

Critically, they failed to invest in early mental health support, and the role that this investment could have played in easing the pressure on NHS services. I know that it is the lack of early support that lets so many young people down, meaning their mental health gets much worse before they get help. Given the current level of need, the consequences of this on young people and on services could be huge.

This is why our partners and thousands of young people have been campaigning for the Government to fund early support hubs in this Spending Review, and what many of us been collectively working on for over two years.

The evidence is crystal clear – early support hubs ease the pressure on services by providing a space for young people to get help when they first start to struggle, they would provide life-changing mental health support for nearly half a million young people – and make access to support more equal for Black and minoritised young people and LGBTQ+ young people. A network of early support hubs will help tackle this inequality by ensuring that all young people who need support get it.  

I personally think that the Government’s decision to not include any new funding for mental health at all last week was simply astonishing. In the face of such incredible demand, we owe it to young people more than ever to ensure that they have access to the support that they need.

I want to make a promise to all of you that this isn’t over yet and together we will find a way to secure this investment into vital mental health support for young people.

In the face of such incredible demand, we owe it to young people more than ever to ensure that they have access to the support that they need.
Emma Thomas, CEO of YoungMinds

The campaign so far… 

Back in 2019, 70,000 of you signed a petition for our Act Early campaign, a key part of which was a call for early support hubs in every local area. We took this to the main political parties ahead of the general election and asked them to make a pledge in their manifestos.

As we started to gain interest and traction with Government, the pandemic hit. With many sources of support for young people becoming derailed nearly overnight, suddenly the need for better early support for young people’s mental health became even more urgent.  

We teamed up with our colleagues at the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, Youth Access, the Children’s Society, Centre for Mental Health, Mind and Black Thrive Global, and launched the Fund the Hubs campaign. Together we convinced 50 other organisations to get behind it and the Youth Mental Health Ambassador, Dr Alex George has supported our calls.

We wrote to our MPs, Stephen Fry talked about hubs in The Telegraph, young people wrote an impassioned open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, and took it to the Treasury to deliver it in person.

We’ve also spoken to officials across Government and within No 10 about early support hubs. Most recently, the new Minister for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan MP, visited a hub as her first visit as a Minister.

For me, all of this action, support and evidence shows that the need for this campaign is far from over. I know that we are all feeling deeply disappointed in this Government for not taking the action needed now to protect the mental health of a generation of young people. Their silence is deafening, but we will continue to loudly campaign and we will not stop until every young person gets the mental health support they need, as soon as they need it.

Follow us and sign up to our newsletter to hear where we take the campaign next and to get involved alongside us. And thank you so much for your continued support.

Thanks for sharing your story Emmat Thomas, CEO of YoungMinds

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