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Research: young people want a mix of face to face and digital mental health support

New research released by Place2Be at the Festival of Education has found that children and young people are most likely to turn to a family member for emotional support during difficult times.

Working on a laptop

The UK-wide survey of over 2,600 11 to 18 year-olds explored their experiences and perceptions of their mental health and their preferred means of support.

It found that young people are searching online to find out more information about their problems but still prefer to discuss issues face to face with family or a mental health professional.

74% of young people said friends and family are fundamental to their mental health. However, one in four young people don’t talk to friends and family (or go to anyone) when they are worried.

The research findings show that young people want a combination of face-to-face and digital support. Young people need support at night time when they feel most alone, they want to find information quickly (within seven seconds) and particularly on topics that they are scared to talk to their friends and family about. 50% of those who have already used apps, SMS, online counselling or online advice would generally recommend them.

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be, said: “As a schools-based service, Place2Be supports children’s emotional wellbeing at a crucial early stage in their lives. It’s interesting to see that while young people go online for information about mental health, they still turn to family first for support. With one in eight young people in the UK now presenting mental health issues, these research findings will help inform the support needed not only in school hours, but beyond.”

Antonia Dixey, CEO of the Participation People, said: “I am thrilled that Place2Be is putting young people’s voices at the forefront of service design and improvement. This national consultation has the power to shape and influence services by putting young people’s lived experiences first. I’m super proud that Participation People could help deliver such an important piece of work.”

Place2Be is already partnering with Shout, the crisis line launched by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex last month. The tool was piloted in Place2Be secondary schools, allowing young people to access support 24/7 and especially during school holidays.

Find out more about Shout

Read the full report

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