Young people's mental health

Young people previously revealed experiencing barriers to access mental health services. In 2019, our team used focus groups and questionnaires to understand the experiences of young people using mental health support services.
two young females standing in the street

Summary

In 2015, Newham recorded 5,330 young people with a diagnose of a mental health condition; However, in 2018 our team spoke with 97 young people who revealed experiencing difficulties in accessing mental health services. Therefore, in 2019 our team lead a more in-depth project by visiting universities and youth groups gather the views of over 100 young people accessibility of mental health services. 

would I just phone up the GP receptionist and tell them I’m feeling depressed? Will they take me seriously?
— - Barbara, student

Key Findings

▪ Most young people did not have the first-hand experience of using mental health services for severe mental health issues.
▪ When feeling down, young people preferred approaching friends, family or go online.
▪ The least perceived supportive sources were schools and health services (including GPs, pharmacies, and hospitals), due to stigma and staff’s attitude.
▪ Many did not understand how mental health services work and what standards to expect.
▪ Young people want services to be more youth friendly and relevant to them.

Recommendations

  • Increase awareness of existing online tools, among young people, including through social media.
  • Make information on pathways and how mental health services work more accessible to all young people is paramount to ensure young people understand the different levels of support available.
  • As young people reveal concerns around the confidentiality and privacy of their data, better information should be provided around how their data is handled. 
  • Young people feel uncomfortable talking to professionals. Staff should be equipped with skills to better engage with young people and be perceived as accessible. 
  • Children and Young people should be encouraged to discuss topics related to mental health and emotional wellbeing so that they learn how to articulate their feelings and feel less stigmatised when seeking help.

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