I am angry and frustrated that young people’s mental health does not seem to be a priority to the Government.
We are calling on the Government to #EndTheWait. On Tuesday 27th June, I went to Westminster to campaign for the Government to take action and respond to what young people and their families have said.
I joined the campaign because I have directly seen the impact that waiting times can have on young people and their mental health. I have experienced this myself as well. In March, I went to Parliament to talk to MPs. They listened but never acted. We need action!
On Tuesday, we reiterated the changes we are calling on the Government to make. We spent the day at Westminster Square where two vans were driving around with electronic billboards showing quotes and messages about the campaign.
We shared our stories about our own mental health journeys and how our experiences of the mental system have been impacted by waiting times. I am angry and frustrated that young people’s mental health does not seem to be a priority to the Government.
My teenage years and young adulthood were severely impacted by mental illness, and I am sad that other people will have to go through what I went through.
Why are young people being told they don’t meet the thresholds and have to get sicker to access help?
Why are young people getting so ill that they are locked away from their family in hospital? Why are young people not able to access the support that they need to get better? Why are young people being told they don’t meet the thresholds and have to get sicker to access help? These things are unacceptable and need to change.
I hope that the stunt on Tuesday will raise awareness of our campaign and cause the Government to finally take action. The more people that know about the #EndTheWait campaign, the more noise we can make! Our voices collectively will hopefully spark lasting changes.
Some of these changes that I would like to see, that would have helped me and other young people I know in the system, include early access support hubs in every community. You would not need a referral for these, and you could access support straight away.
I also call on the Government to ensure NHS services meet demand. My mental health journey has been marred by inefficiencies and difficulties accessing therapy.
I know I am not alone and in fact, I count myself as one of the lucky ones – I survived, and I am recovering. It shouldn’t be a privilege to be able to access the support you require to get better from mental illness. But currently it is and this needs to change.
We have talked and talked about the effect of the mental health system on young people so now action needs to happen.
We know that young people are suffering from the system. Last year there was a consultation that thousands of young people responded to. Now the Government have backed out and want another consultation for the Major Conditions Strategy. The Government isn't listening. We have talked and talked about the effect of the mental health system on young people so now action needs to happen.
If I could say just one thing to Steve Barclay, I would say:
Act! End the wait! Stop costing young people’s lives and futures. Young people like me want to be strong and independent. We want to be successful. We want to be a contributing member of society but to do all this, we need support for our mental health.
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Where to get help
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If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
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