Campaigners warn the UK is facing mental health crisis for youth

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In May, 982 young people were referred to crisis care teams, the highest figure since before the pandemic and a 37 percent increase on the previous month. And open referrals to children and young people’s mental health services for May reached 457,386, breaking March’s previous record high.

Campaigners say the Government is “failing young people” and “urgent action is needed to reverse this alarming rise”.

It comes after the charity YoungMinds revealed 26 percent of young people waiting for mental health support had tried to take their own life.

Almost half a million young people are being treated for their mental health every month, and a young person is referred to the NHS for mental health support every 30 seconds.

YoungMinds urged Tory leadership hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to commit to a long-term plan to help young people in need.

The charity Olly Parker said: “These figures clearly show the crisis we are facing.”

“Young people should not be reaching a state of emergency with their mental health.”

“Help and support should be available as soon as a young person needs it, when they first start experiencing mental health problems. But we know that Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services are under huge pressure, under-resourced and struggling to cope with growing demand.”

“Services are so stretched that young people need to be more unwell to qualify for even basic support, which means many more are reaching crisis point and requiring emergency care. The system is failing young people when they most need help.”

“The previous Government committed to a new long-term plan for mental health with children and young people at its heart. The new prime minister needs to recommit to the plan.”

“In the meantime, urgent action is needed to reverse this alarming rise. Each month we see new signs of a system in chaos, red flashing lights across the dashboard, but nothing is being done. The Government must urgently equip the NHS to deal with the immediate pressures services face.”

The Government said: “We invested £79million in 2021 to expand services, enabling 22,000 more young people to access community mental health services, as well as to expand mental health support teams, which now cover more than 2.4 million pupils and will reach 3 million by 2024.”

“This is on top of our record investment to expand and transform services, giving an additional 345,000 children access to NHS support by 2024, and expanding the children’s mental health workforce by more than 40 percent.”

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