Youth Access was set up under its former name the National Association of Young People’s Counselling and Advisory Services in 1975 following a break with the then British Association of Counselling. Responding to the emergence of a small network of youth advice and counselling services, NAYPCAS was closely aligned to the youth sector for much of the next two decades. As a membership-led organisation, NAYPCAS sought to develop the field of youth advice and counselling. 

In 1993, NAYPCAS became Youth Access and since the mid-1990s has successfully built relationships and alliances across the youth, advice and mental health sectors.  In 2015, ‘Future in Mind’, the report of the then government’s Taskforce on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing proposed that Youth Information, Advice and Counselling Services (YIACS) should be a key part of any universal local offer.