Thousands of children and young people across England will benefit from additional support hubs as part of efforts to provide more mental health care in the fallout of the pandemic

The UK government has announced additional funding for early support hubs to ensure that young people across the country receive better mental health care. The drop-in centres provide counselling, group therapy, and specialist guidance, as well as early intervention for those at risk of mental illness, without requiring a referral from a doctor or school.

The early support hubs are open to anyone aged 11 to 25 in England who does not meet the criteria for NHS support and offer advice on issues ranging from mental health and sexual health to exam concerns, housing advice, drug and alcohol misuse, and financial issues.

In October 2023, the government announced a funding commitment of nearly £5 million for 10 early support hubs; now, an additional £3 million is set to increase the number of hubs to 24 across the country as part of an ongoing commitment to transform mental health care for children and young people.

On the announcement, Mental Health Minister Maria Caulfield said: “The government is taking the long-term decisions needed to make our healthcare system faster, simpler and fairer. Mental health support for our young people is a key part of that.

No child or young person should suffer alone, and this additional funding for 24 mental health hubs will improve access and bring in more staff and experts who can help those who need it the most. This will build on the brilliant work they already do, and support our ongoing work to make sure every person has access to the highest quality mental health services.”

The increase in funding for early support hubs comes as research indicates that one in five children and young people in England aged eight to 16 are experiencing mental health challenges, a rise from one in nine before the pandemic.

According to a survey commissioned by mental health charity YoungMinds, two-thirds of people were unable to find support when they needed it, and three-quarters (78%) said they had had to manage their mental health on their own when they couldn't find help elsewhere, with only 17% feeling confident in their ability to manage their mental health alone.

The #FundTheHubs campaign has been relentlessly advocating for the UK government to fund a network of early support hubs to offer early intervention and advice for young people struggling with their mental health. The group issued an open letter calling on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to fund a national rollout of support hubs in the spring budget, stating that mental health support for young people should be accessible in every community.

The #FundTheHubs campaign runs in collaboration with:

  • Young Minds
  • Youth Access
  • The Children’s Society
  • The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition
  • Centre for Mental Health
  • Black Thrive Global
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Youth Mental Health Ambassador Dr Alex George welcomes the additional funding to provide early intervention for young people.

The campaign group, supported by various charities and celebrities including award-winning actor, writer and mental health advocate Stephen Fry cited: “The UK government’s additional funding, which now covers 24 existing early support hubs, will mean more young people can access early mental health support and advice in their local community.

The funding recognises the vital role that these hubs can play in easing the huge pressure services are under and provides much-needed early mental health support for young people.

Thousands of young people and experts are still fighting hard to fund the hubs. These spaces mean young people can get support for their mental health as soon as they need it. We welcome this step forward and hope that a sustainably funded full national rollout will soon follow, so every young person can benefit from mental health support in their local community.”

If you’re concerned about a young person’s mental health and wellbeing, it's important to encourage them to talk about how they're feeling and reassure them that it's OK to seek help. If you are in a position to explore private therapy to access support quicker, you can learn more about counselling for children and young people on Counselling Directory.