Mental Health Awareness Week: St Albans charity Youth Talk faces unprecedented demand for services

Youth Talk's services are in huge demand.

Youth Talk's services are in huge demand. - Credit: Shutterstock

A St Albans charity offering mental health support for youngsters aged 13-25 is facing the biggest demand in its 25 year history.

Youth Talk has revealed it is desperately seeking additional financial support to meet growing requests for help as we mark this year's Mental Health Awareness Week (May 9-15).

Before the pandemic the charity was already seeing an increase in the number of young people struggling with their emotional wellbeing and mental health, but since Covid requests for help have soared. Youth Talk is currently providing around 100 counselling sessions per week and supports over 400 young people per year. Over the last year the charity has delivered 32% more counselling sessions – but the demand continues to rise.

Chief executive David Barker said: “It’s a worrying time. Never in our 25 year history have we seen such a huge demand on our service. There are over 100 young people currently on our waiting list and when a young person is brave enough to take that first step towards getting help, they shouldn’t be kept waiting. We want to help, but currently don’t have the resources to support everyone at the point they reach out to us.

"We and our community have a duty to every young person in our District to provide them with the support they need during this challenging time.”

He added: “There is an urgent need to scale up what we do – we have a new 5 year strategy where we want to double our counselling provision and as part of this need larger premises so we can undertake more face to face counselling. Currently around 60% of our sessions are held face to face.

"We are incredibly thankful to our loyal individual and corporate sponsors who we rely on for funding, but we need more money and support to realise our vital ambition to support the growing numbers of local young people needing help.”

Donors, future volunteers or those needing support, can gain further information by visiting

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Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity for the whole UK to focus on achieving good mental health. The theme this year is ‘Loneliness’ which has had a huge impact on physical and mental health during the pandemic.