The number of young people experiencing mental health issues is rising

We’re doing more to get help to those that need it

Mental health issues are rising among young people in Kent and Medway.

Almost one in five young people (aged 7 to 16) in England had a probable mental health disorder in 2022, according to the NHS.

Why is this happening? The pandemic significantly affected young people’s mental health which has been compounded by the cost of living crisis, particularly for those young people in the most disadvantaged communities. There is also greater awareness of mental health – particularly among the younger generations – meaning that, encouragingly, more people are seeking support or talking about how they are feeling.

Combine these factors and it’s no wonder that mental health services are struggling to cope with the increased demand from young people.

How we’re helping

Porchlight works with GPs, children and young people’s mental health services, schools and families to ensure help is available for younger people.

We can support them with a wide range of issues – some may be experiencing emotional wellbeing issues such as worrying about home life, education and / or friendships. Others may be LGBTQ+ or exploring their identity and need support and safe spaces where they can be themselves and connect with other young people.

Whatever the situation, we can help young people to: feel more confident; develop resilience (using CBT and DBT-informed techniques) so they can better manage issues that affect their emotional wellbeing; improve relationships with their family; combat feelings of isolation by making friends and exploring their interests.

By intervening early, we can prevent their mental health from worsening to a point where more specialist support is needed. This is especially important at a time when NHS waiting lists are longer than ever. If a young person is already at the point that more specialist support is needed, we will work with health and social care professionals.

Engaging young people who don’t want to visit a GP

Many young people may be reluctant to go to a GP about their mental health. Our workers spend time building trust and helping them reach a point where they feel ready to engage with support services if this is what they need. This is done by having regular meet-ups at a place they feel most comfortable – possibly in their local community or in school. When the time is right, our worker and the young person will work together to develop a plan of support that’s tailored to their needs and interests, and all done at a pace which works for them.

Working collaboratively with health and social care services

Sometimes, a young person needs help and our services are best equipped to help them to reach their goals, either because they do not need specialist provision or because we can work alongside and with other services. We’ll help the young person to identify the issues they are facing and work with them to develop a plan of support.

Support and safe spaces for LGBTQ+ young people

Many LGBTQ+ young people experience bullying and discrimination which can seriously affect their mental health. We have a specialist service which offers safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces where they can be themselves, make friends and find the support they need. We also work with friends, parents, carers and schools, helping them understand how best to support the young person in their life.

Improving NHS mental health crisis support for young people

We’re working with 18 to 25-year-olds who have been through a mental health crisis to understand any barriers they faced when accessing support. The insights we gather will be shared with the NHS and used to improve the support that’s available. This service also runs activities, such as photography sessions, art & crafts workshops, and yoga, to help young adults better manage their mental health.