In the week following the announcement of a new quality standard aimed at improving care for people experiencing anxiety disorders*, two leading charities have released figures indicating a sharp increase in the numbers of young people needing help.
Anxiety UK, which supports people living with anxiety, and YouthNet, the national online charity for 16 to 25 year olds, have both seen increased demand for their online services supporting young people during January 2014, as compared to the same time last year.
During January 2014, Anxiety UK experienced a 40% increase in visitors to their website information pages for young people with anxiety disorders and 106% increase in those accessing resources for parents and carers of young people with anxiety.
YouthNet, which runs TheSite.org, an online guide to life for young people, also saw increased visits to their information and support for young people with mental health concerns (up 13% from January 2013).
The charities have warned that this increased trend highlights the need for accessible and trusted information and support for young people coping with anxiety.
Emma Thomas from YouthNet said: “Realising you have a mental health issue can be really stressful in itself. While we welcome a new quality standard, it’s important to recognise that young people are often unsure about how to talk to professionals and need support to help distinguish their feelings and cope. Young people are increasingly looking online for this first, so trusted information in a style and tone they relate to, as well as a safe place to share openly, is vital.”
Nicky Lidbetter, Anxiety UK’s CEO said: “We typically see an increase in enquiries and website visits during this time of year however the rise in the number of visits to our web pages dedicated to young people during the first part of 2014 appears to be a new trend and one that we will need to monitor. Ensuring that young people have access to accurate information and ongoing support is critical as we know that early intervention often prevents the development of more entrenched and difficult to treat, anxiety disorders in adulthood.
In response, YouthNet has launched a series of videos with mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin and This Morning’s Dr Ranj to dispel the myths about what happens when you get medical help for a mental health condition.
Young people and anxiety will be a major focus for Anxiety UK in 2014, with plans to increase services to schools to better equip them with the skills to provide support to students affected by anxiety whilst also supporting teaching professionals where stress rates are often high.
Notes for editors:
*On February 5, 2014 The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued standards to improve the quality of care and support for children, young people and adults with anxiety disorders.
The UK’s first exclusively online charity, YouthNet has been creating digital solutions to ease young people’s isolation and to make their lives better for 17 years. Currently, YouthNet runs two complementary digital services:
- TheSite – the guide to life for 16 to 25 year-olds, with 2,000 articles/videos/blogs about job seeking, housing, sexual health, mental wellbeing, drugs and more
- StepFinder – Local help, easily found. An app that pin-points the nearest local support service and shows young people how to get there and what to expect.
About Anxiety UK
Anxiety UK is a user-led charity with more than forty years’ experience in supporting those living with anxiety. Anxiety disorders are common and treatable. Anxiety UK works to relieve and support those living with these conditions by providing information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including fast access to reduced cost 1:1 therapy services. The Anxiety UK helpline alone receives over 16,000 calls a year from people suffering from phobias and anxiety disorders.
The charity provides support to people with any anxiety condition, or specific phobia such as fear of spiders, blushing, vomiting, being alone, public speaking, heights – in fact, any fear that stops people from living their lives to the full.