The YIACS model

Working with our members, we promote the YIACS model as part of local services for young people everywhere.

Youth Access is the national membership organisation for young people's information, advice and counselling services (YIACS). YIACS are organisations rooted in local communities all over the country that provide free, easily accessible and age-appropriate support to young people aged 11-25 with a wide range of issues.

YIACS are driven by the needs of young people, not arbitrary targets and check-boxes, and their approach has young people’s rights at its heart. YIACS routinely help young people from marginalised groups who might not otherwise be receiving support, including looked-after children, young people with experience of the criminal justice system, LGBTQ+ young people., refugees and young people from BAME backgrounds. YIACS recognise that young people face particular challenges as they transition into adulthood, providing effective support to teenagers and young adults who would otherwise fall through the gaps between children and adult’s mental health services.

Local, community-based and accessible services are key to meeting young people’s mental health needs. But YIACS see young people as more than just a mental health diagnosis, and support them with a wide range of issues, providing advice and information services that can help young people access their rights and entitlements, and address the social determinants of mental health.

With proper backing and funding from government, YIACS could do so much more in providing high quality and effective services to young people for whom there is an urgent and growing need for age appropriate mental health and wellbeing services. That’s why we work with our members to promote the YIACS model to service commissioners and policy-makers to encourage investment in a model of support that ensures all young people have somewhere to turn to, and someone to talk to, wherever and whenever they are in need.

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