Open Your Mind aims to make young people aware of the support available to them before they reach crisis point
“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." Leon Wehncke, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, North East London Mental Health Foundation Trust
A campaign has been launched in London to make sure that children and young people receive the mental health support they need before reaching breaking point.
The campaign, Open Your Mind, was created in response to a 50% rise in the number of young people urgently needing mental health support in the last three years. It is being organised by Cavendish Square Group, which represents the 10 London NHS mental health trusts, and will run for several months. The aim of the campaign is to make people aware of the support available at an early stage, including NHS mental health crisis lines, counselling and digital text support.
David Bradley, chair of Cavendish Square Group, said it was “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 openyourmind.support.
“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.”
Leon Wehncke, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist from North East London Mental Health Foundation Trust, said that there had been a “stark rise in the number of children and young people attending emergency departments suffering from mental health crises.”
He added: “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.”
The huge rise in young people experiencing mental health problems since the pandemic is worrying, and we welcome efforts to address these through early intervention. But it’s important that support is available when young people reach out for it. There is a risk that an awareness campaign will lead to services being overwhelmed, making young people with mental health problems feel more rather than less isolated. This is the latest on several new initiatives and reviews demonstrating the scale and severity of the mental health context the UK is currently in.