Mental health campaign for young people launches in London

A new London-wide mental health campaign aimed at ensuring children and young people receive the support they need before reaching breaking point has launched.

The Open Your Mind campaign has the backing of young people and clinicians across the region and has come after the latest figures showed a 50% rise in the number of young people needing mental health support in the last three years.

The initiative centres around making sure young people know about the support available to them at the earliest possible stage – this includes NHS mental health crisis lines, counselling, and digital text support.

Leon Wehncke, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist from North East London Mental Health Foundation Trust, said: “Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a stark rise in the number of children and young people attending emergency departments suffering from mental health crises.

“While social restrictions have been lifted, the repercussions are still felt by countless children and young people, which is why it is paramount to improve mental health communications so that no young person feels as though they are suffering alone.

“The primary challenge that young people at risk of suffering from mental ill-health face is that they are unaware of the range of services and resources that are available to them.

“The resources signposted through the #OpenYourMind campaign are of a high clinical standard to support young people and their guardians to manage their mental health.”

Hannah, 22, from Barnet, whose own mental health difficulties started at just 14-years-old, said: I felt very alone for a long time and a campaign like this would have really helped me to know what my options were. Knowing that there was help out there would have made a big difference to making my own situation less lonely.

“My mum is really supportive and I was able to talk to her about what was happening, but there was a fair bit of time between when I first brought up with her how I was feeling and the point when I was referred to hospital.

“During that time, it would have been good to have known about services like SHOUT for example. I have always struggled to speak over the phone to people I don’t know and being aware of a digital text support service like that would have been great”.

In addition to the NHS mental health crisis lines and digital text services like SHOUT, the Open Your Mind campaign also shares tips and advice on how to start your conversation about mental health, encouraging clearer lines of communication between young people and trusted adults, with the aim of normalising the topic and highlighting just how important it is for everyone to care for their own mental wellbeing.

The campaign is set to run over several months across London and is being run by Cavendish Square Group, who represent the 10 London NHS Mental Health Trusts.

David Bradley, Chair of Cavendish Square Group, said: “We are working hard to promote where and how young people, their families or carers can access early support and advice. It is important that people are supported early on, understand the options available to them and how to access these – so that they don’t have to attend Emergency Departments in a crisis.

“As of today, children and young people who are experiencing mental ill health, or a mental health crisis, as well as parents and carers, can now easily access expert advice and support by visiting

“Early intervention and prevention is a priority and working together to provide the right information and signposting will help us to provide more effective care, designed to meet the needs of our communities.”

More information on the campaign is available here.

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