Young people with mental illness face many barriers in accessing care and often have different needs to those of adult consumers. Young people's participation in mental health services is one way of addressing quality and access issues, through receiving feedback and implementing youth-driven and youth-friendly strategies. headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, established in July 2006, highlights the mental health care sector's commitment to young people. Existing youth participation programs provide examples of what can be achieved at national and local levels and with varying levels of financial and other support. These include: Ybblue, the youth program of beyondblue; Reach Out!, a web-based service; Headroom, providing health promotion and a website; and Platform Team (ORYGEN Youth Health), comprising current and past clients who advise the service and provide peer support. Current practice in youth participation in mental health services involves a variety of methods, such as ensuring information and education is appropriate for a youth audience, and participating in peer-support programs and staff selection panels. Challenges in the future development of youth participation in mental health services include avoiding tokenism, acknowledging that young people are not a uniform group, translating national strategies into local improvements in services, and gaining the support and cooperation of health care workers in genuine participation.