Nearly three quarters of young people in London would tell friends and family they are ‘fine’ even if struggling with a mental health problem


New research released by the mental health anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change, reveals that when asked, nearly three quarters (70%) 16-24-year-olds in London would tell friends and family they are ‘fine’, even if struggling with a mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety.

When asked why, responses suggest young people in London doubt whether those around them really want to hear the honest answer.

The top concerns were:

  • I don’t want to burden people (45%)
  • Just because people ask how you are, doesn’t mean they really want to know (50%)
  • I’d only talk if I was confident my friend or family member really wanted to listen (35%

The national survey highlights that young people seek permission to talk about their mental health, beyond the questions ‘How are you?’ or ‘Are you ok?’ To tackle this, Time to Change is urging people to ‘Ask Twice’ if they think a friend or family member might be struggling with their mental health. The campaign says the simple act of asking again, with interest, shows a genuine willingness to talk and listen.

‘Ask Twice’ is the latest campaign from Time to Change which encourages young people to be more supportive of friends who might be experiencing a mental health problem.

While there has been a positive shift in the way mental health problems are viewed in England, insight shows that in practical terms many people are still unsure of how to be more supportive.

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said “When we consider that 75% of all mental health problems are established by the age of 24 it’s all the more important that young people feel supported. Our research shows that asking ‘Are you ok?’ is often not enough. Asking twice is a simple, effective way to show that you’re asking for real and ready to talk and listen.”