Why Youth in Mind? This month, we launch the Youth in Mind campaign, encouraging people to support our aim to offer effective, timely and accessible support to young people across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes. Why did we choose this campaign, when there are so many other areas that we could look at; access to counselling, long waiting lists for treatment, lack of emergency beds, the stigma that still pervades every aspect of our work, lack of understanding in the media - lets be honest, despite some great steps in the past years, there is still a hell of a way to go before mental health is seen as being as important as physical health. So why young people? There are many reasons why. Firstly, whatever there is currently isn't working. The number of young people experiencing mental ill health is rising. 1 in 5 young women says that they have deliberately self harmed. Suicide is the most likely cause of death for young men. Admissions for eating disorders are increasing. Anxiety, depression, stress - these conditions are all on the rise in our youth. And if we don't do something about it, they will continue to impact into adulthood. This is an area which is a ticking time bomb and NEEDS to be changed. 50% of lifetime mental illness is present by the age of 14. 75% by the age of 24. We KNOW who is most likely to experience mental health difficulties and yet, we don't intervene. We KNOW that providing earlier intervention and support means that the impact is lessened, and yet we see these services reducing. We KNOW that young people are clear about what they want and yet traditional services continue to deliver traditional services. Things are changing. People are slowly starting to see that this is something that matters. Last year, the government allocated an additional £1 billion towards children's mental health services. Over 5 years. Nationwide. And with some of this having to be spent in specific ways. It's a step in the right direction, but a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed. We see situations where young people are being sent hundreds of miles for treatment, because there is nothing local. Where young people are being turned away because there are no inpatient beds. Where people are crying out for help, but there is nothing that meets their needs because they are 'not ill enough'. We know that 70% of young people aren't able to get the help they need, when they need it. And huge numbers suffer alone, in silence, with no help at all. This has to stop. We HAVE to be able to say to young people that there is help there when they need it. We HAVE to be able to offer support where and when it makes most difference. We HAVE to be able to change the current situation where children and young people are simply unable to get anything that supports them to develop their own coping strategies, to build their own resilience, to learn to manage more effectively against a backdrop of pressure, stress and anxiety. That is why Youth in Mind is our campaign. That is why Mind BLMK wants to change things. That is why we are asking for your help. The Youth in Mind campaign links to our ideas around supporting young people. We haven't just said 'we want to do this', we've spoken to young people and asked them what will help. And when we reach our target, we will be working with young people to deliver this support. Between 14 - 23, life changes unbelievably fast. Exams, relationships, alcohol, physical changes, college or university, work, living away from home for the first time, the end of the first relationship, social media, holidays without parents for the first time - basically, moving from childhood into becoming an adult. And the pressures on young people these days are HUGE. We will be looking at all of these issues; pressures on services, waiting times, transitions, how you can look after yourself (and others). Watch this space for more to come. If you have ideas, experiences or comments about young peoples mental health, please let us know in the comments, on social media or by contacting us.