Why young people’s mental health?

The crisis in young people’s mental health is alarming.

Mental health disorders cover a wide range of issues with differing degrees of severity.

Statistics around mental health should be treated with a degree of caution as they tend to band very different mental health disorders together hiding the individual challenges faced by people. That said, the statistics are striking:

  • The rate of probable mental health disorders among young people has more than doubled in the last 5 years according to the NHS Mental Health and Young People Survey (2022).

  • In 2022, 22% of  young people aged 17-24 in England had a probable mental health disorder (NHS Digital).

  • Referrals to children’s mental health services (CAMHS) have risen 53% from 2019 to 2022 - that’s 1.24 million under 18s.

  • According to a report by the Mental Health Taskforce in 2016, “The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health”, mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK costing the economy the same as the entire annual NHS budget each year.

Whatever the headlines tell us, we don’t need statistics to tell us there’s a crisis. There are simply too many young people across the country struggling with their mental health, disconnected from society, their friends and families and themselves.

Many of these young people are unable or unwilling to access traditional mental health services. Many do not reach the threshold to be seen and, if they do, might have to wait months or even years. Many struggle to engage with the traditional services on offer. Existing NHS mental health services for young people are overwhelmed by demand.

Three quarters of mental health difficulties occur before the age of 24 and half by the age of 14. Research shows that unless properly handled at a young age, many of these young people will go on to have life long mental health challenges.

The role of social and environmental factors contributing to health difficulties, both physical and mental, is widely acknowledged. 

There are rising cases of depression, anxiety, addiction, self-harming and eating disorders in young people. The rise can be attributed to increasing feelings of loneliness, isolation and disconnection driven by the pressure and rapid pace of technological and societal change.

Young people from the lowest socio-economic band are three times more likely to suffer with mental illness than a peer from the highest socio-economic band.

Non-clinical forms of communit support can support young people who otherwise would not have engaged with traditional therapy or been unable to access it.

We want to grow the availability of transformative social prescriptions for young people allowing them to get back on a path to a healthy and productive life.


Of young people aged 17-24 in the England had a  probable mental health disorder in 2022
(NHS Digital)


Referrals to children’s mental health services in England have risen 53% from 2019 to 2022 - that’s 1.24 million under 18s
(NHS Digital)


Of under 18s do not reveive any treatment
(Children’s Commissioner)

“We are in danger of creating a lost and lonely generation, disconnected from themselves, their families and friends.”


There is growing evidence that holistic, non-pharmaceutical approaches, known as social prescriptions, can have a huge benefit on people’s health and wellbeing.