The young adults helping to improve NHS mental health support

We're giving them a voice to improve NHS services

Young adults we work with have met with NHS professionals to explain the barriers they've faced when trying to get support with their mental health.

They shared their experiences at the Kent and Medway Young Adults Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference. NHS England's mental health director and members of the local NHS Integrated Care Board (responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population) were among the professionals they spoke to.

The young adults are part of a project we’re running to improve mental health crisis support for young people in Kent and Medway. We’re working with 18 to 25-year-olds to understand any barriers they faced when trying to access help.

More than 1,000 young adults have shared insights with us since the project launched a year-and-a-half ago. We have learned that:

  • Long waiting times for support are causing some young people’s mental health to get worse.
  • A&E departments aren’t referring young people into mental health services even though they are sometimes approached by those unsure about who to turn to for help
  • Some don't qualify for specialist support despite their mental health being in a very bad place, a result of NHS services being overstretched.

Attending the Kent and Medway Young Adults Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference was a chance to share these findings so that the NHS can begin considering changes which allow more young people to get the help they need.

We will also be meeting with Kent and Medway NHS commissioners later in the summer to give them a greater understanding of the situation.