Youth Access reveals plans to make services more accountable to young people

Youth Access believes that only a radical shift in how we listen young people will lead to real service improvement in the mental health sector. For this to happen, services need to be held accountable to the needs of young people – not systems, budgets and bureaucracy.

Young people have always been clear about what they want and it is time for the system to start listening to – and, crucially, acting on – those needs.  That’s why we worked with over 240 young people from across the country to produce the Altogether Better charter, which outlines a person-centred way of working with seven key demands:

  1. Treat us with respect
  2. Make it easy for us to access the service
  3. Have all the help we need in one place
  4. Provide a welcoming and age appropriate setting
  5. Provide support for young people up to the age of 25
  6. Have skilled workers that take us seriously
  7. Involve us in decision making

Person-centred approaches are now being recognised as essential in delivering effective support for young people: the Care Quality Commission’s latest report on CYP mental health Are We Listening outlines a vision for a joined-up way of working that puts young people at the heart of service design and delivery, and statutory providers are increasingly exploring ways to include ‘patient voice’ in service design.

The voluntary sector has led the way with these approaches, having already embedded many of these practices for decades. Youth Access now plans to take this a step further by exploring how we can use client feedback to drive improvement within our membership and across the sector. As a recipient of the innovative new Listening Fund, we will be developing Altogether Better into a robust feedback system which will enable young people to rate services against the 7 points of the charter.

We know that when we actually listen to young people and put their needs and rights at the heart of services, their experience of getting support is improved.  You can join our movement of progressive young person-centred advice and counselling services today by signing up here or emailing