The Voice of Young People study aimed to gain insights into the challenges young people aged 12-29 face. The research involved 388 respondents from across the UK who participated in an online, anonymous questionnaire in late February 2023.

The findings were then reviewed and discussed by Sport 4 Life’s Youth Panel in May 2023, who provided additional context and qualitative information.

Read the full Voice of Young People report.

Video transcript

Currently, I feel like the mental health system right now is just really robotic. They need to change it.

I thought it was difficult when I was younger, as a teenager, to access them and find the right support for mental health, but it was a blessing at the time compared to what it’s like at the moment, it’s absolutely horrific.

I’ve been in tough situations myself, and eventually having

some kind of counselling did help me a lot, and I didn’t feel like I

had to be a strong male, that I had to be strong for everybody else and look after everyone else.

I felt like a bit of self-reflection, a bit of self-care really made a big difference.

But, a lot of people don’t have that.

A lot of people don’t feel like they can have that self-care, and they need it. A lot of people really need it, even if they don’t realise it. It will catch up on them.

Thankfully, I have a great GP, and that’s how I managed to find mine.

But, before I asked my GP, I had no idea how to get mental health. I had no idea of any companies, no phone numbers, anything like that of how to do it. And I thankfully went to my GP and I was told that obviously my GP can’t help very much,

they’d do something very different for me,

but, they managed to give me a number.

I know a lot of people who wouldn’t know the first place to look. So it can be really quite hard to access even the signposts, let alone the actual places you need to go to.

Just having people that jump through major hoops and obstacles

just to get some help towards them, trying to make them better,

get them out of this hole is just obscene, I feel like it has to be some type of change.

There needs to be a lot more openness about it. People need to be able to have those outlets.

They need to be able to have contact numbers, someone to talk to, options to go to.

Less and less people are getting adequate mental health care. Even when they do get to reach it, after finally going through all these hoops and going through all these waiting lists, people are not receiving the kind of care that they should be receiving, and I can speak to that both personally and having seen so many of my peers go through the same experience.

There definitely needs to be a simple and new approach to how we deal with mental health.

So I’m seeing, from a personal point of view, more and more commonly mistakes being made, really important mistakes, that I’m sure probably whilst I’m angry about them, I’m more angry that the staff are put under such circumstances and such pressure by the cuts, and by the way the government is treating the services. That they’re under so much, so much stress that they’re making these mistakes in the first place.

We need it to be simple. Mental health is stressful enough as is. People struggle. And the last thing they want to do is when they’re in a stressful situation, is try and fix it by being in a different stressful situation. It needs to be fast, it needs to be simple. There needs to be no hoops, it needs to be sorted properly. It just needs to be done. Simple as.