Young people call on clinicians to ask about mental health at every appointment

Young people want to be asked about their mental health and wellbeing. But many healthcare workers don’t mention this aspect of their health during appointments, focusing only on the physical. That’s while 18% of children aged 7-16 and 22% of young people aged 17-24 in the UK had a probable mental health disorder in 2022, according to the National Centre for Social Research. 

We know that living well with HIV means feeling well physically and mentally. But many of the young people we work with have found they are rarely asked about their mental wellbeing. Considering the impact of the continued stigma around HIV and the burden this can be to carry for young people, particularly as many are not open about their status, mental health is an extremely important aspect to consider for someone living with the virus.

This #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, we’re asking HIV clinicians and all health professionals to make sure they’re checking in with young people about their mental health whenever they see them. In an HIV clinic, a sexual health clinic, at GP appointments and beyond.

As part of every consultation, the young people we work with want staff in HIV clinics to:

  • Get to know the young person outside their HIV
  • Ask the young person how they feeling about their HIV at the moment
  • Tell the young person the truth
  • Don’t judge them
  • Be patient with them

Don’t listen to my HIV – listen to me, they say.  

Pledge your support for young people to have their mental health asked about as part of all their healthcare experiences. For Mental Health Awareness Week, share one of the following messages on your social media channels:

This #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, I’m joining @chivaprojects in calling on healthcare professionals to check in with young people on their mental health at every appointment. Please share.

Let’s make young people’s mental health the top of healthcare workers’ concerns. Spread the word on #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek @chivaprojects