Research reveals 80% of young people aren’t seeking mental health support due to wait times, knowledge of access and costs

As part of its Stop.Breathe.Think campaign to support young people’s mental health, inner-city youth charity, Snow-Camp, has conducted research revealing that 80% of young people are put off seeking mental health support due to wait times, not knowing where to access help or being worried about costs. As a result, Snow-Camp has launched a free 24-hour, no wait time, text support service. To access the service, young people can text BREATHE to 85258 and receive real-time advice by trained volunteers.

Whilst delivering its own mental health programme, Snow-Camp has seen that mental wellbeing is something that today’s young people are increasingly struggling with, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Snow-Camp’s research reveals that the pandemic has made over 60% of the younger generation feel anxious, with 3 out of 5 young people believing lockdown has negatively impacted their mental health.

With help from Shout and JHD Counselling, Snow-Camp has been able to launch a truly unique mental health support service. Unlike other mental health services, the Stop.Breathe.Think initiative has no wait times, is completely free and available 24 hours a day. Trained volunteers can provide real-time advice to young people seeking mental health support via text and are able to escalate messages to the emergency services if a young person is deemed at imminent risk. Young people can also request and receive free, virtual counselling sessions via the Stop.Breathe.Think website, with a counsellor contacting them within 24 hours. Young people can also receive follow-up support videos via the Stop.Breathe.Think website.

Young people rarely have the means or confidence to find the support they need. Snow-Camp’s research has found that 1 in 3 young are still too scared to ask for mental health support, with 75% of the younger generation not seeking support because they feel they’d be a nuisance, or their problems aren’t big enough to warrant help. Sadly, over 60% would not turn to parents, family or friends as they would worry about being judged or do not think they would understand. That’s why the Stop.Breathe.Think service is completely confidential and manned by a team of counsellors who specialise in a variety of youth mental health issues, ensuring that every young person receives specialised, targeted support from the start.

As part of Stop.Breathe.Think, Snow-Camp has also partnered with Link Up TV, one of the UK’s largest drill YouTube channels and Nito NB, a celebrated West London drill artist, to release a track supporting the campaign. Using his experience of growing up in London and the challenges experienced by young people every day, Nito NB talks about how young peoples’ reactions to everyday situations can alter their futures forever. The track encourages young people to stop and breathe before reacting, helping them make a better decision in the moment. This is the first-time drill music has been used to discuss key issues affecting young people’s mental health, particularly surrounding violent crime. The drill track, titled Breathe, has already been streamed over 100,000 times.

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