The YIACS Model

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

Youth Access is the national membership organisation for Youth 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.

The journey into adulthood is tough and some young people face a bumpier road than most. Youth Access YIACS recognise and respond to the particular challenges faced by teenagers and young adults, and target support at those who would otherwise fall through the gaps between children and adult’s mental health services.

Visual representation of the YIACS model

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 broader issues that go hand in hand with mental health - such as housing, money and relationships – sometimes referred to as the “social determinents” of mental health.

With proper backing and funding from government, Youth Access 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. Together we can 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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