Who we help / Young people

Young people

Being between 18 and 24 years old can be an exciting period of life! However, it can also be a challenging one as it is likely that new responsibilities arise, and some life decisions need to be made.

This period is also key for developing habits that nurture our wellbeing. For example, having healthy sleep patterns, exercising regularly, learning coping and problem-solving strategies, developing social skills and learning to manage emotions.

Asking for help

Sometimes it can be difficult to acknowledge something is not feeling right and to talk about this. But experiencing emotional struggles or difficulties with your mental health can happen to anyone, so the best thing to do about it is to ask for help.

What can Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) offer?

We offer short-term talking therapies for common mental health issues. These are often related to difficulties at work or studies, relationship issues or life changes.
Some of them are:

  • Low mood or depression
  • Excessive worrying or anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep problems
  • Stress
  • Phobia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Experience of a traumatic event
  • Loss and grief

IAPT services aim to be flexible. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the help you need, we deliver online (via Microsoft Teams) and face-to-face sessions. The therapy we offer is free and confidential. This is usually based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is a talking therapy that focuses on the relationship between your thoughts, feelings and behaviour for helping you to manage your difficulties.

We recently interviewed young people who accessed our service and they agreed that CBT techniques were helpful for having a better understanding of their mental health and improving their management of emotions.

Why are young people more at risk of developing mental health problems?

There are certain factors that can make young people be at greater risk of developing mental health problems, such as peer pressure, exposure to media influence and gender norms, unhealthy relationships with peers, bullying, harsh parenting, severe socioeconomic problems, having a chronic illness or belonging to an ethnic minority.

Recent studies found that one in two people aged between 16 and 25 in the UK experienced worse mental health since the beginning of the pandemic and were more likely to suffer stress arising from the pandemic than the general population. Common emotional experiences were hopelessness, loneliness, difficulties in coping with everyday life and suicidal thoughts. If you experienced any of these or other emotional challenges, you are not alone.


A one-to-one therapy session with participants wearing face coverings.

A patient's story

How to refer yourself to Lewisham IAPT for psychological therapies?

Please click on the ‘make a referral’ button. Alternatively, you can call 0203 2281350 or ask your GP to make a referral for you.

What to expect when you self-refer?

A time will be arranged for you to speak to one of the therapists. When you have your first appointment you will be asked for some brief details about yourself and about your current difficulties. This helps us decide how we can best help you.

After the end of the appointment, we will discuss within our team the support options available and we will talk to you about this for agreeing on a plan.

Other helpful organisations:

Helpline, webchat and online support groups for people with eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.


Provides advice, housing and support for young people aged 16–25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in England.


Free confidential support for anyone under 19 in the UK, including a free helpline and 1-2-1 online chats with counsellors.


A charity providing health and wellbeing services, helping people unleash their unique potential and live healthier, safer and more fulfilling lives. They support children, young people, adults and families. ​


A British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy accredited service, provides a free, safe and non-judgemental place for young people to connect with others and know they are not alone. They have instant access to self-help materials, live moderated discussion forums and tools such as online journals and goal trackers. Young people can also contribute written pieces of work reflecting their own experiences, as well as accessing drop-in or booked sessions with professional counsellors. Kooth is available to young people aged 11-25 in Bexley, Bromley and Lewisham. 


They provide twelve free one-to-one
counselling sessions for young people
who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or those experiencing issues relating to
diversity, equality and identity.


Advice and support for young people struggling with unusual experiences, such as hearing voices.


Provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health
problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote
understanding. They also have a page dedicated to supporting young people.


Support and advice for under 25s, including a helpline, crisis messenger service and webchat.​


NHS app with confidential health advice and support for 16–25 year olds.


The NHS offers several guides for providing support with common difficulties experienced by young people. Some of these are:

  • Student stress support
  • Tips on preparing for exams 
  • Bereavement and young people
Support for young people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ocdyouth.org

Information for young people.


Confidential support for under-35s at risk of suicide and others who are concerned about them. Open daily from 9am–midnight. Helpline: 0800 068 41 41; Text: 07860039967


Help and support for young people affected by domestic violence.


Provides help and support with
relationships, including counselling and telephone support.


A citywide movement to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners. It is supported by the Mayor of London and led by the London Health Board partners. ​


The Samaritans offer anonymous 24/7 support via their helpline.
Freephone 116 123,
Email:  jo@samaritans.org


The UK’s student mental health charity aims to empower students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, support others and create change.


Launched to provide help and guidance for students through coronavirus. Students in higher education across
England and Wales can use Student Space to explore a range of trusted information on key challenges for student life during the pandemic,
access additional services such as a phone line and text support, and find out
about support services within their place of study.


Provides young people with tools and information to look after their mental health. Here you will find advice and guides to understand your emotions and mental health conditions.