Open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer
To: The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Right now, thousands of young people across England are not able to access early support for their mental health.
This is a crisis, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. Help comes too late, severely impacting lives and resulting in young people needing even more support.
We are young people, writing to you as campaigners and people who care about mental health. We are writing on behalf of ourselves, of others who are struggling right now and for those who sadly haven’t made it through. We understand the real impact on young people’s lives when they can’t access early mental health support and we believe we deserve better.
Too many young people have struggled with their mental health without support. Pressure, trauma, family issues, school and exam stress all take their toll. Waiting for help can last months or even years, which can cause our mental health to decline to crisis point.
When a young person struggles with their mental health, it’s not just that person that struggles – it puts huge physical and mental strain on families and friends. It’s traumatic to watch people go through this without knowing whether they will ever get the help they need. Not only can it tear families apart, but it has an economic impact on the whole of society – some of our parents have had to take time off work to support us, while some of us have missed out on our education.
All of this is avoidable if the Government invests in a national network of early support hubs. These will offer somewhere for every young person to go for their mental health without having an appointment or being on a waiting list, with one in every local area. Some of these services do exist but we need them to be centrally and consistently funded – and we need you to ensure that there is the same level of support no matter where you live.
With early intervention we don’t need to wait until young people reach crisis before they get the help they need. If young people like us have access to a hub when we first struggle, we are less likely to need support later down the line and for so long. Having hubs across the country could contribute to the prevention of so many untimely deaths, as they ensure young people get support before they reach crisis.
We need you to take action. Right now, young people need to get worse before they can access support to get better. You can change this and make a difference for hundreds and thousands of young people who are struggling with their mental health. Please invest in early support hubs now.
Written by YoungMinds Activists, aged 16 - 25
Signed by young people across the UK.