End The Wait Campaign - Close-up of a teenage girl looking at the camera

End The Wait

Join us in calling for the government to #EndTheWait and deliver on its promise to end the crisis in young people’s mental health.

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About #EndTheWait

Thousands of young people are seeking mental health support. But too many are being told to wait, struggling to cope and hitting crisis point before they get help.

For years, politicians have promised to end the crisis in young people’s mental health. But the reality is that with every month of inaction, things are getting worse.

The message from young people is clear: we will wait no longer.

A young person's access to mental health support should not be a postcode lottery

On Wednesday 28 February, YoungMinds Activists handed in a letter to 10 Downing Street where it will be delivered directly to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. This letter calls on him to include a national roll out of early mental health support hubs in the Spring Budget announcement.

We were joined on the day by Dr Alex George, one of the co-signers and a big supporter of #FundTheHubs. A huge thank you to every campaigner who added their name, shared the letter with friends and interacted with our launch video – we couldn’t do this work without your support.

Read the full letter
Activists stand in front of Number 10 Downing Street with their letter for Jeremey Hunt.

The campaign so far

Over 10,000 of you added your voice to call for the Government to deliver on its promise to end the crisis in young people’s mental health.

Your support helps make sure that young people's voices get heard and that those in power commit to #EndTheWait.

In the summer of 2022, YoungMinds and 16 other mental health organisations called on the current and future Prime Minister to take action on the cost-of-living crisis, warning it could push the mental health system to "the brink of collapse" and urging them to prioritise the Mental Health Plan.

Alongside the mental health sector, we wrote a letter to the current and future Prime Minister urging the Government to act on the cost-of-living crisis.

A letter to the current and future Prime Minister

You and more than 10,000 others signed the card, welcoming the new Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, to his job and showing him just how important it is that he commits to #EndTheWait.

By signing the card, you’ve made your demands clear to Government. This is a huge milestone.

We rely on valuable campaigners like you to hold the Government to account. Which is why we are so grateful for your continued dedication to fighting for better mental health support for young people.

Three YoungMinds Activists standing in front of parliament holding a welcome card saying: 'Congrats on the new job'.

On Wednesday 2 November 2022, YoungMinds Activists Elsa, Jaiden, and Tilly, personally delivered this card to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Your name, along with more than 10,000 others, showed the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, just how important it is that he commits to #EndTheWait.

The card was received by three top civil servants working on mental health, who learned more about our campaign and heard from the Activists why the changes we’re calling for – from schools, to the NHS, to early support hubs – are so important.

Three YoungMinds Activists with MP Munira Wilson holding the End The Wait card open on a page with all the signatures.

Activists also met Munira Wilson MP, who came down to find out more about #EndTheWait and meet our Activists. Ms Wilson has been the Education Spokesperson since October 2021 and she is the main contact for mental health within the Liberal Democrat party.

Our Activists tell the story

We've collected over a thousand of your messages to deliver to MPs at the #EndTheWait event in Parliament so your voice gets heard by decision-makers.

Our Activists standing together in a group in a hall in Parliament.

On Monday 20 March, we held our #EndTheWait Parliamentary event.

Thousands of campaigners invited their MP to this event, asking them to support us to #EndTheWait.

The event saw our Activists leading conversations about the campaign and gave them the opportunity to share their personal experiences with MPs. It was a unique chance for MPs to listen and speak with young people in person.

Our Activists Nicole giving a speech at the #EndTheWait Parliament event.

Some highlights from the event

Our Activist Nicole gave a powerful and moving speech about her own experiences of mental ill health and trying to navigate a broken system.

An MP and an Activist holding two heavy buckets full of bean bags, their arms outstretched.

MPs were invited to play a game that worked as a visual representation for how heavy the load of mental health can be and that the longer you wait the heavier it becomes.

Dr Alex at the #EndTheWait Parliament event.
I was nervous talking to my MP about my story, but I knew I had to do it. I couldn’t let what happened to me happen to anyone else. It was a true privilege to be part of this event.
Jessica, YoungMinds Activist

On Tuesday 27 June, we resorted to driving young people’s messages around Parliament Square, demanding they be heard.

Our young Activists spent the day campaigning by sharing their stories and experiences of the mental health system, and how they've been impacted by waiting times.

Find out more about the day in our blog, written by one of the Activists involved.

The Government needs to stop stalling on our mental health
I'm here because I feel like I've been given a platform to speak and can amplify my voice for those who can't. I'm speaking for those who want to be heard.
Jaiden, YoungMinds Activist

The situation with young people's mental health

A group of five young people wearing jackets, standing side by side against a wall and looking straight ahead.

Young people are at the sharp end of a mental health crisis.

We know this because they’ve told us. In 2022, 13,887 young people under 25 shared their views through our Big Young People’s Survey. Their voices were made loud and clear.

  • Over a third didn't feel supported by their GP when they tried to access mental health support.
  • Over 40% waited over a month for mental health support after seeking it.
  • Almost 1 in 10 were turned away when they tried to get support.

Since then, we’ve continued to bring together thousands of young people’s voices to share their experiences of mental health in the UK. What they’ve told us reveals just how serious this crisis is.

Explore our findings to discover the situation with young people’s mental health, directly from young people themselves.

Deconstructing the system

  • Our Deconstructing the system report shares the experiences of tens of thousands of young people. Their experiences highlight how systemic issues truly underpin the young people’s mental health crisis and what needs to be done to enact real change.

Our Stories

  • ‘Our Stories’ is a platform that brings together the voices of young people to tell their stories. It shares the lived experiences behind the young people’s mental health crisis, forming part of a wider story about growing up in the UK.

What changes we're asking the Government to make

Thousands of young people called for changes when they were consulted on the promised ten-year Mental Health Plan.

Now that the plan has been wrapped up into the new ‘Major Conditions Strategy’, the Health Secretary must commit to still making these changes a reality.

1. Access to help early on.

An early support hub in every community, so you have somewhere to turn when you first start to struggle with your mental health. No referral, no appointment, easy access.

Take a look at some of our earlier campaign work to #FundTheHubs.

2. Support in schools.

Urgent funding, so schools can put in place mental health support for their students in the wake of the pandemic.

The more supportive schools are of mental health, the more young people will thrive.

Play Video: NHS services that meet demand NHS services that meet demand

3. NHS services that meet demand.

Making it easier and quicker to access treatment, before you reach crisis.

Earlier this year, we found that the number of young people referred for emergency mental health services has reached a record high, according to the NHS data. This needs to change.

This campaign is England only. Political decisions about health are devolved, which means the governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are in charge of the NHS in their nations.

Did you know?

  • More than a quarter of young people have tried to end their lives while waiting for mental health support.1
  • Over 40% waited more than a month for mental health support after seeking it.2
  • Nearly half a million young people are being referred for mental health problems every month, with many not being able to get the support they need.3
  • Latest NHS figures show urgent referrals have reached the highest levels since before the pandemic began, with a 37 per cent increase on the previous month.4
  • Eight in ten young people don't think the Government takes young people's mental health seriously.5

[1] [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.

[3] Record 420,000 children a month in England treated for mental health problems. The Guardian [online]. Available at: www.theguardian.com [Accessed 19 July 2022].

[4] This figure is taken from the NHS Digital (2019-22) ‘Mental Health Services Monthly Statistics 2019-22.’ Published August 2022. In May 2022, 982 young people were referred to crisis care teams, the highest figure since 2019, and a 37 per cent increase compared to April 2022.

[5] 14,215 young people aged 13-25 completed the Big Young People's survey online between 22 November to 17 December 2021.

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Get in touch

If you would like to find out more about our campaign work, you can get in touch with our team by emailing campaigns@youngminds.org.uk.

More ways to get involved

Find out more about our other campaigns and ways you can join our movement.