Young Minds, a charity for young people with mental health problems, claim that severe cuts have been made by many local authorities to services, making them unavailable in some areas.
Their review of the cuts to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the UK showed that of 51 local authorities, 34 had cut their budget since 2010.
This is because funding for services such as NHS has stayed stead, but the cuts are then passed on to services such as counselling and advice lines.
Young Minds say this has resulted in thousands of teenagers being denied access to mental health care that should be free.
They say that not treating people with the first signs of mental health problems ends up costing the economy even more in the long term as they are more likely to need expensive NHS care, as well as problems that stem from this such as being unable to work, criminal activity, and further damage to their health.
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of Young Minds, said:
Draining money from early intervention services is short-sighted, and just stores up problems for the future as young people are left without access to early help, meaning mental health problems become more serious and entrenched.
It is therefore vital that councils and NHS commissioners prioritise funding comprehensive CAMHS services as they begin to set their budgets for next year, to avoid deepening the potential damage that further cuts could cause to children and young people’s mental health.
Young Minds spoke to Caroline Holroyd, aged 22, who said:
I was helped greatly by a charity offering free counselling to young people.
This service has had its funding cut dramatically and I worry for other young people who may not have access to this and similar services in the future.
Without the help they gave me I would still be agoraphobic and suffering from crippling anxiety; they gave me back my life.
One service that's been affected is Off The Record Bristol, a charity offering free counselling service for young people aged up to 25. They are partly funded by Bristol City Council, but have recently been told they are unable to treat people from nearby areas anymore, such as South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.
The charity's director Simon Newitt estimates they're now turning away at least 200 people a year.
It's a rubbish conversation to have, to say 'We can't help you and there's nothing in your area that you can access.
The Department of Health say they've spent more than £50m over the past four years on talking therapies and have also put pressure on local NHS departments to make sure they deliver services.