17 Jun 2019

Responding to today’s announcement to put prevention at the top of the mental health agenda   

Sam Royston, Director of Policy and Research at The Children's Society said: 

“The well-being of children in the UK has been in decline for almost a decade. We have found that 100,000 10-17 year olds get turned away from mental health services each year and early support is urgently needed to prevent issues escalating and forcing children into crisis. 

“The announcement today, mostly a re-packaging of previously announced measures, does have some welcome additions. The training for new teachers is particularly welcome although it is a shame that the prime minister has not also included existing teachers.

“The focus on social workers is a very positive addition, as children living with the consequences of abuse and neglect are especially at risk of mental ill health and in recent years very little has been done to address this. However, just because teachers and social workers will be able to “spot the signs”, it does not mean they will have the resources and support to do anything about it, especially given he massive cuts to funding available for children’s services.

“From our own research we have found that a third of parents think their child might have a mental health challenge so the new prevention campaign is encouraging but much more needs to be done to help parents know what is available in their local are as many parents don’t know if their child’s school has access to counselling.  

“The announcement of the continued commitment to the breathing-space scheme for families in problem debt – something we have long campaigned for – is welcome but this is not a new announcement and we need to see rapid progress on this being implemented.

“Prevention of mental ill health should always be a priority given that mental ill health is often rooted in childhood. The Government must commit to properly measuring the well-being of our children, and ensure every child has easy access to early help services in their community, if we are truly to prevent today’s children from living with mental ill health in the future.”