While growing up, a year is a considerable period; 365 days of growth, development, and change- time best spent being encouraged to reach our goals, or at least finding comfort in knowing they are achievable.
In 2017, over 338,000 young people were referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS). Outrageously, less than a third of these were seen by any member of the CAHMS team within a year.
What this means for young people
For the young people in dire need of these critical resources, an entire year is far too long to be sat dormant on a seemingly never-ending waiting list, battling demons most of us have the invaluable luxury of living without. Fighting these battles alone often truly is an impossible feat- these kids need the support they deserve.
But this is not the fault of the dedicated staff who support people like me, or the parents who compete for a much-needed outlet for their kids. The blame lies in the hands of an arguably negligent governmental system, in which mental health seems to bear no urgency, despite suicide being among the leading causes of death for teens in Britain.
It’s hard to deviate my thoughts from the undeniable reality; thousands of young people could have been saved from the cruel hands of mental illness, if only our critical resources were not so criminally underfunded. Mental health struggles are not a choice – nor should funding our facilities sufficiently be.
The positive side
Regardless of these considerable imperfections in our system, we are continually lucky to have open facilities, such as wellbeing centers and support services, that are funded by local authorities to ensure young people have access to the support they need. Other valuable resources include the charity ‘Mind’, and the Mental Health Wales website, which offer valuable support for young people. Simply existing as resources helps massively in efforts to stamp out stigma in our local community and further. Education is our most potent defense against ignorance and in turn under-funding.
While we may not be able to flick a switch and enjoy the benefits of a properly funded and flourishing mental health system, we can raise our voices and ensure we are heard. The strength of our voice as young people is incredibly powerful; we have a passion for change and have already implemented so many positive amendments globally and within our communities!
We are so fortunate to have a variety of facilities and outlets available to us as young people, and there’s no doubt that we are more than keen to make use of these fantastic resources! We are already coming together as Platfform4YP to create a positive and uplifting space where we can all join forces and form an incredible platform we can all enjoy.
What can be done?
Our focus must now lie in striving to open the conversation surrounding mental health, along with reaching out and supporting those around us, sharing our stories, and encouraging positive change in our communities and the mental health sector as a whole. As young people, no time has it been more imperative that we are informed, and our voices are raised. If we shout loud enough, together, someone is going to listen. Let’s change our world for the better!
Want to be involved?
If this post has inspired you to get involved with combating stigma, empowering others, and pioneering for positive change, you could spread the word about Platfform4YP by sharing our website and following us on social media! If you feel like you have something you would like to contribute to Platfform4YP or want to learn more about how you could get involved, email our chief editor Tom Evans @ firstname.lastname@example.org