Urgent action required to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Young people’s mental health services and support need significant improvement urgently according to a new report published by Healthwatch North Yorkshire.

Healthwatch North Yorkshire today (12/05/2022) released a report outlining the mental health and well-being issues young people (aged 16-24) are faced with.

More than two thirds (72%) of the survey respondents said they had experienced mental health or well-being issues in the past 12 months. Of the respondents only half said they sought help.

Reasons given for not seeking support included long waiting times to access support; the stigma surrounding mental health; and not knowing where to go.

Of those who did seek support, most respondents sought help from their GP, talked to friends and family, or got support at their school, college, or university.

Mental health issues amongst young people are a rising national concern, and this report echoes concerns that young people in North Yorkshire are facing immense pressures without knowing who or where to turn for support.

Those people who did get support from NHS services had a mixed response. Some found the services helpful, but too many didn’t with concerns raised about long waiting times, services stopping when people reach 18 years old without anything else being put in place to continue the support and services often being fragmented. 

Helena, a young student involved with this research shared her own mental health experiences:

“Mental health and well-being are important topics that affect us all. However, this area still has a lot of stigmas around it, and there is a lot more that needs to be done to improve the mental health services across North Yorkshire and promote mental health across schools and colleges. Through personal experience I have come to value the importance of having support from all people, whether that is my friends or family, or the services provided locally, they are all vital in helping me to manage my own mental health.”

“I would call on all service providers in health and education to read this report and act on its recommendations and findings. Together we need to ensure that mental health services and support are equally provided cross the county.

As well as a survey, Healthwatch North Yorkshire undertook focus groups at Harrogate college, and Selby college to gather the views of young people. They also conducted a conversation with mental health therapists at Selby college.

Lorraine Fisher, Counselling and Wellbeing Coordinator at Selby college, said:

“Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the project, it is crucial that we hear from young people unhindered by service providers targets.”

“Healthwatch North Yorkshire has provided the opportunity for young people and health professionals to talk openly about their experiences of the NHS service and mental health needs more widely. The views expressed through this project largely mirror my professional experience of working with this age group who sadly, overall feel let down by their experiences within the NHS services so far.”

I hope that this report goes some way to opening conversations that enact change surrounding the offer of a variety of therapeutic approaches and avenues of support that give more choice and autonomy to our young people.
— Lorraine Fisher

Healthwatch North Yorkshire will be sharing the report’s findings with North Yorkshire’s mental health providers and key health organisations.

Healthwatch North Yorkshire is calling for young people to share their views and experiences of health and social care, by visiting our website, calling Healthwatch North Yorkshire on 01423 788 128, or by emailing admin@hwny.co.uk

Read the report: https://bit.ly/3suyijb

Share your thoughts

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas.

Talk to us