Why this guide is needed

The years between the ages of 16 and 25 can have a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of individuals throughout the remainder of their adult lives. Evidence indicates that adolescence and early adulthood is the peak age of onset for mental ill health and the period when there is a need for early intervention1.

Unfortunately, young people experience a range of barriers to accessing mental health support; for example, adult services are often not designed or delivered in ways that encourage young people to engage, and the stigma associated with mental health problems can dissuade young people from seeking help2. These barriers mean that young people’s mental health needs often go unsupported.

The Right Here programme developed  a range of effective approaches to support the mental wellbeing of young people in the UK aged 16–25. This included working with young people, youth charities and mental health agencies across four sites in Brighton and Hove, Fermanagh, Newham, and Sheffield in a unique combination of youth participation  and co-design, prevention, early intervention, resilience-building, and anti-stigma activities.

Interim results from the independent evaluation of Right Here show that these activities have made a number of differences to the lives of young people. Participants have:

  • Developed the confidence to consider and/or take up new opportunities.
  • Acquired new skills and techniques for identifying and then handling changes in their emotions, especially the onset of feelings of anger and violence.
  • Improved or made changes in their relationships with family members  and their peers, including leaving violent or damaging relationships.
  • Felt able to be themselves in groups and forge relationships with others, sometimes for the first time.
  • Come to realise that ‘everyone has mental health’ and grasped its relevance to themselves, as well as understanding that there is less difference between those who are ‘well’ and those who are ‘unwell’ than they first thought3.


  • 1 Kessler RC, Amminger GP, Aguilar- Gaxiola S, Alonso J, Lee S and Ustun TB (2007) Age of onset of mental disorders: A review of recent literature, Curr Opin Psychiatry. 20(4): 359–364
  • 2 Gulliver A, Griffiths KM and Christensen H (2010) Perceived barriers and facilitators to mental health helpseeking in young people: a systematic review, BMC Psychiatry. 10:113
  • 3 IVAR (2013) Evaluation of Right Here: Interim Findings from Local Evaluations