Jo Holmes, our Children, Young People and Families Lead, says a new Children’s Society report shows there is still work to do to remove the stigma around young people’s mental health.

She was responding to Waiting in Line, which explores experiences of NHS Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS).

Launched during Children’s Mental Health Week and on Time To Talk Day, Waiting in Line was based on interviews with young people aged 11-21.

It highlights the challenges they can face in reaching out for help, the lack of knowledge and understanding of mental health more generally, and the slow service a young person can receive once they have accessed the CYPMHS.

The report calls for more mental health support to be made available within community settings, through the increased provision of open access drop in hubs, so that mental health support is more accessible and visible to young people.

Jo said: "We welcome the publication of Waiting in Line, detailing young people’s experiences of accessing CYPMHS, providing insights into their individual journeys and challenges they may have faced.

"It saddens me to hear young people still feel they face stigma around their mental health when accessing specialist provision.


"I welcome the idea of producing user-friendly literature for children and young people to provide them with essential information about what to expect from their local CAMHS/CYPMHS service.

"I would also advocate that, wherever possible, children and young people are active partners in the CYPMHS referral process so they have ownership of what is documented about them that they can then expand upon within any assessment.

"Leading school counselling service providers in Wales talk of carrying out referrals with the young person so that at the point of first entry into CAMHs the young person is as prepared as possible to share their struggles."

The report highlights the work of Young People’s Advisory Service (YPAS), a BACP accredited service in Liverpool.

YPAS provides a range of support and therapeutic interventions to address the mental health and emotional wellbeing needs of children, young people and families.

The report said: “YPAS has local centres in the north, south and central regions of the city, along with workers based in schools, and even a drop-in GP surgery, meaning young people have multiple points at which they can enter and access the service – all via self-referral. This means young people have a consistent base of support that can bridge across other tricky transitions where they might lose access to other support (e.g. moving from NHS CYPMHS to AMHS, primary to secondary school or school to university, or leaving the care system).

“While YPAS’ Counselling and Psychotherapy Service provides a wide range of therapeutic interventions for mental health issues - including one-to-one talking therapy, school-based interventions and systemic family practice - their Information and Advice services match this emotional support with practical tools to equip young people and families to manage their problems in the long term. Their daily advice drop-in for young adults offers informal education sessions covering everyday issues such as benefits, housing, education and employment, while their school-age groups’ focus on social skills and confidence, and their regular LGBTQ+ groups provide a safe environment for young people to access support from both professionals and peers with similar experiences.”

To find a counsellor or psychotherapist who can help you or your child visit our Therapist Directory.