Making mental health support better for young people more at risk of mental illness

Young people need more flexible, creative solutions to give them the information and support they need to stay mentally well.
Picture shows teenage boy taking a selfie

Our new report, ‘Minding us: Improving services for young people at greater risk of mental ill heath’ tells the stories of young people's experiences of mental health services and what they want to change.

It is part of an important project to help re-design local mental health services for children and adolescents.

We collected the experiences and ideas of more than 90 young people, including young carers, young people who had been sexually exploited, and young lesbian and gay people. Many had experienced one or more difficult life challenge, for example, dealing with prejudice, isolation or abuse.

At least one in three of the young people told us they had previously used mental health services.

Long waiting times were often a problem. Sometimes, young people experienced worsening mental health whilst they waited for an appointment.

Where young people go for information

Young people told us they want to talk to someone they can trust to get information about mental ill-health. Over 70% of young people would talk to a trusted adult, for example a teacher, parent, or friend.  There was a worry amongst some  that parents and teachers didn’t know enough about mental health to be able to help them.

This report shows the need to do things differently for young people and those around them to give them the support they need before they reach crisis level. We need to break down the stigma of mental illness and say, it is OK to get help if you need it.'
— Emma Amez, project officer

What young people want from support

The challenges in some of the young people’s lives means they need more flexibility with access to appointments. This would help them avoid being discharged too soon from services followed by a rapid need for a re-referral.

When we asked about therapy, most young people wanted face to face counselling in a place that suited their needs, for example at home, in a cafe, or a drop-in.  There was interest in creative therapy options, with one young person saying that 'somewhere I can be creative' was important to them.

The quality of the relationship with the person giving support is important. They want to have the time to build trust with a therapist.

Online chat and video options were also popular with over one in five of the young people we spoke to.

The views of young people are important to us as it will help professionals to think about how we commission and deliver services in the future. It is clear from the feedback from young people that we have to help professionals in universal settings such as schools to understand better how to help young people with mental health needs as they are often the people young people trust and want to talk to.
— Wendi Ogle-Welbourne, Corporate Director: People and Communities, Peterborough City Council, Chair of the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board for Children and Young People


Minding Us report

Tell us about your experiences

NHS and social care staff are doing everything they can to keep us well during these challenging times, but there might be things that can be improved.

Your feedback can help services spot issues that are affecting care for you and your loved ones.

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