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.
We're done waiting
We’ve told the Government the impact waiting for mental health support has on young people.
Now they need to listen and act.
That's why we resorted to driving young people’s messages around parliament square, demanding they be heard.
Young people are at the sharp end of a mental health crisis that each day gets worse. In the last two years, on average more than 70% of young people have sought mental health support, and 59% of young people said their mental health got worse during the wait for support.
Last year, thousands of young people responded to the consultation on the much-needed ten-year mental health plan. But the Government have broken their promise and abandoned the plan.
It is unacceptable that the Government is yet again calling for evidence – this time on a Major Conditions Strategy that groups mental health alongside several serious physical health conditions.
The time for consultation is over. We need action, not talk.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The situation with young people's mental health
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’ 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.
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
  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.
 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].