1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Key Data
  4.  » Use of health services


Use of health services

Good outcomes for young people rely on youth friendly health services – from community based health promotion through to NHS inpatient care.

Around two thirds of year 10 pupils had visited the doctors in the last six months

One of the key challenges for young people is the transition to independence that takes place across the second decade of life. Learning how to recognise health issues and manage the process of getting help is very important at this time. Supporting young people through this process means empowering them to take control of their health and giving them the information they need to seek appropriate services.


Getting health advice

Health promotion for young people aged 10-24 tends to focus on sexual health, physical activity, smoking, drinking and drug use, and diet and nutrition. When asked about sources of helpful information, for example about drug use, young people report that they use a wide range of sources. Parents, teachers and health professionals are usually cited as the main source of advice. Chart 7.1 shows that, in relation to drugs, most young people access information from parents and teachers.

Most young people access information about drugs from parents and teachers

In 2017, almost half of 5-19 year olds with a mental disorder had contact with a teacher for mental health reasons (Sadler et al, 2018).  Surveys often show that school clearly play a major role in health promotion through the provision of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE). The 2017 Child and Social Work Act made sex, relationships and health education statutory in all secondary schools in England from September 2020 (Department for Education, 2017) but delivery was delayed by the educational disruption of the pandemic.

An important part of the landscape of health promotion and early intervention relates to youth service provision. This includes community based universal and early intervention, some school based early interventions, support for vulnerable young people, and other services. A number of local authorities no longer provide some or all of these services (Education Policy Institute, 2018). Chart 7.2 presents the trends in local authority universal and targeted youth services funding in England over recent years, clearly showing the decline.

Before the pandemic, local authority youth service funding had been decreasing for some time in England

All data correct as of 1st November 2021