The pandemic has had a huge impact on our children and young people and has led to an explosion in the numbers seeking help and support. 15% of parents of four to 17-year-olds in the UK told our Public Perceptions Survey earlier this year that their child had asked for mental health support since the start of the pandemic.

Our research also found that three-quarters of parents of four to 17-year-olds were more concerned about their child’s or children’s mental health because of the pandemic.

This impact on children and young people is one of the reasons we called for investment in a trained and professional counsellor in every secondary school, college and community hub in England in our response to the Government’s 10 Year Mental Health Strategy consultation.

And while that consultation came to an end in July, we’re continuing to campaign for vital support for our children and young people and will be writing to the new Mental Health Minister with this in mind. 

We’ve joined with other charities and organisations – including Mind, Young Minds, Black Thrive, The Children’s Society, Youth Access and the Children and Young people’s Mental Health Coalition – to support the Fund the Hubs campaign.

You can visit MIND’s campaign page to add your name and show your support for this vital service. 

Our Fund the Hubs campaign aims to widen choice for children and young people up to 25, including access to free counselling in community or hub settings.

The hubs, based on Youth Access’s youth, information, advice and counselling (YIAC) model, provide counselling alongside other key support services for children and young people, almost like a one-stop-shop.

Key supporters include Dr Alex George, who talks about the need to fund early help support hubs covering a range of issues, not just mental health.

Many third sector children and young people counselling providers are already members of Youth Access. If your service isn’t registered with them, please do contact them.

The Youth Access network enables those looking for counselling to add their postcode to a search engine and find free counselling in their area. The downside is that not all areas have such provision.

The Fund the Hubs campaign seeks to widen the number of hubs to provide greater reach across the country and to reduce the postcode lottery we hear so much about.

Community hubs have service users and those with lived experience at the heart of all their work. Coming from a youth work background, this is something I’m incredibly passionate about and it fits well with child-centred approaches in all our work.

Getting services right for young people needs to be user led. Young people involved in the campaign have already met the Prime Minister in Downing Street and talked about why these services are so needed and why funding is vital to ensure sustainability and wider reach.

Please raise your hand in support, add your name to the campaign, and continue to make some noise about this much needed third sector investment into counselling provision.