Publish date: 27 September 2022
NHS London is launching a campaign calling for young people to seek help if they are struggling with their mental health.
It comes as recent figures show attendances at emergency departments (accident and emergency) for young people with mental health diagnosis have increased since 2019.
In 2021, there were 6.9% more emergency department attendances in London among people aged 16 to 25 with a mental health diagnosis than in 2019.
In an effort to encourage young people to come forward for support early and potentially prevent experiencing a mental health emergency, the NHS is raising awareness of the range of services available across the capital.
Each September, thousands of young people move to London to study or work, living away from home and potentially managing their own health for the first time.
The NHS campaign 'London, You Good?' aims to raise awareness of the range of free mental health services available, should lifestyle changes be a contributing factor in young people experiencing anxiety, depression or other common mental health and wellbeing concerns.
Following the Covid pandemic, feelings of anxiety and loneliness have been exacerbated making it more important than ever for young people to come forward early when they are in need of support.
In West London, the Trust offers NHS talking therapies, Single Point of Access (SPA), as well as Safe Spaces.
Femi Gbadamosi, from Hackney, experienced stress, overthinking and anxiety during his final year of exams at university in 2015 and was later admitted to Chase Farm Hospital, where he received a mental health diagnosis and treatment.
Femi said: “Before I was treated at Chase Farm, my friends often noticed how I was acting differently, withdrawing from usual activities. I didn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone as I felt as if I’d only be adding to their own worries.
“During my recovery, I took part in different therapeutic activities and was encouraged to talk more freely about my thoughts and feelings in a safe space; and now in my role as a Peer and Lived Experience Manager at the same Trust, I am helping to run the therapeutic activities to support others.
“Talking to someone helped me to realise that I am not alone and was the first step in my recovery. I would strongly advocate for anyone with concerns for their mental health to come forward to access the free support and advice available through the NHS as soon as possible.”
Martin Machray, Regional Chief Nurse and Senior Responsible Officer for Mental Health in London, said: “The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many people living within the capital city, and we know that September is typically a time that can prompt lifestyle changes for young adults, which may in turn affect their mental health and wellbeing.
“Thousands of Londoners already use NHS talking therapies every year, but we know we can help many more by building awareness of the benefits of seeking support.
“If you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or are feeling low, it’s important you know you are not alone and that it is okay to get help. No one should suffer in silence; it is essential that young people know that we’re here to support them 24/7”.
Across London the NHS is bringing mental health services to young people, partnering with charities, community organisations and places of education to ensure easy and straightforward access to care and support.
West London NHS Trust recently launched a project called People Like Us aimed at students at the University of West London. With recent figures showing that male Black and Asian young Londoners are 10 times less likely to come forward than others, the project aims to enhance the support available for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students by breaking down potential barriers some communities may face when accessing mental health support.
Michelle Grant, Head of Occupational Therapy for Mental Health Integrated Network Teams at West London NHS Trust and Clinician Trainer for the People Like Us Project said: “People Like Us helps students’ understanding of themselves and their way of thinking, developing the skills to manage stress, learn to cope with difficult emotions and begin to recognise how to live a happier and healthier life.”
You can find out more about 'London, You Good?' here.