Parliamentary committee recommends rollout of early support hubs like YIACS

In March this year, Youth Access contributed a written submission and gave oral evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s inquiry into children and young people’s mental health. This morning the committee published its final report, with a set of recommendations including investment in local ‘hub’ services like Youth Access YIACS (Youth Information Advice and Counselling Services).

The report found that young adults aged 18-25 face some of the widest gaps between need and support and recognised the urgent need for community-based services, such as Youth Access YIACS, in addition to support based in schools and clinical settings.

The committee recommends that the Government fund a national rollout of community-based ‘early support hubs’ such as Youth Access YIACS, where young people aged 11-25 can drop-in and access support on a range of issues relating to their mental health.

Cassandra Harrison, Youth Access’ CEO said:

“While the findings of this report highlight just how much needs to be done to meet the mental health needs of children and young people, especially in the fallout from the Covid pandemic, we are pleased to see the recognition that this can’t all be done within schools and clinical settings.

“Existing commitments to roll out Mental Health Support Teams in schools and to increase access to NHS mental health services will take us so far, but young people need, and have a right to, support they can access on their own terms, in their local area, before issues escalate.  

“Youth Access members already do such a vital job of offering young people a whole range of support with their mental health and the issues that underpin it – from money and work to sexual health and identity. It’s great to see those services getting the recognition they deserve. Now it’s time to see national investment to truly ‘level up’ every local area, making sure existing services are sufficiently and sustainably funded, as well as new services set up so that no young person is left to go it alone.

“The recent spending review left us concerned that the Government sees young people’s mental health as collateral, with almost no mention and no new investment to meet increasing need. This report is yet another wake-up call – invest now in the future of our young people, or risk the fallout as they’re left to bear the brunt of cuts, Covid and a bleak economic forecast.”