Record number of mental health support provided to young people

Record number of mental health support provided to young people
© iStock/sturti

Harrowing new figures show a record number of young people are seeking mental health support from NHS services.

As young people return to college or university, the NHS is calling for students to seek mental health support as soon as they need it. This urgent message comes as new data shows record numbers of young people accessing NHS support services.

In the UK, students and other young people can access talking therapies. This service provides effective, confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS practitioners. They can help with common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

More young people are accessing mental health support

Access to NHS mental health services for 18 to 25-year-olds was almost a fifth higher in 2021/2022 than pre-pandemic. Furthermore, the NHS has also witnessed a rise of almost a fifth in people being referred to mental health crisis services compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Claire Murdoch, England’s mental health boss, has urged students to contact a health professional as soon as they feel they need mental health support and to avoid waiting until Christmas when they return to their families.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Mental Health Director, said: “Young people’s lives have faced enormous disruption over the last two years and life for students at university can be incredibly hard, which is exactly why NHS staff and partners have worked flat out to expand the help and mental health support available to young people.

“It is now easier than ever for students going to university to access help so please don’t be afraid to speak up.

“You may feel that you don’t want to burden others or are worried about what they might think, but the truth is – people care about you, and they will want to help you.

“So I would urge anyone returning to universities in the coming weeks – or indeed any other young person – to seek out mental health support as soon as they need it because the NHS is here for you.”

Rolling out mental health hubs across student-friendly cities

The NHS is also trialling the rollout of mental health hubs across five student-friendly cities where young people can access mental health support face-to-face and access immediate help, advice or onward referral. The £3m programme will provide services in Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield, and North London to close the gap between universities and NHS mental health services.

More than 63% of young people will wait two weeks or less to start mental health treatment. However, the NHS has urgent mental health helplines for people of all ages including, 24-hour support and an assessment to help decide the best course of care.

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