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Urgent help needed for children facing mental health 'crisis'

January 28, 2021 11:50 AM
Originally published by Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Only 1 in 4 children who needed mental health support accessed services last year, shocking figures from the Children's Commissioner's report have revealed.

Munira WilsonMunira Wilson MP, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health and Social Care, said:

"The report's findings confirm the sad reality we have known all along: the mental health of children and young people has for too long been overlooked by this Conservative Government. Week after week, I am contacted by parents whose children are struggling with their mental health and unable to access services.

"With 1 in 6 children now suffering from a mental health condition, it is clear that this pandemic is not only a physical one but also a mental health crisis too.

"Without urgent Government action to put young people at the top of their priority list, these figures can only get worse. So far, the Government's lack of planning and provision during the pandemic has only compounded the growing young people's mental health crisis."

Kent County Councillor Trudy Dean

Trudy Dean, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children, Young Persons and Education at Kent County Council added:

"We know that during the Covid crisis, requests for help with depression and abuse for Kent children have fallen greatly as personal contact with teachers, the Police and others have stopped. It's clear that there is likely to be a surge of requests once schools are fully open again.

"The Children's Commissioner, Anne Longfield, has warned that 'damage to children's mental health caused by Covid crisis could last for years without a large-scale increase for children's mental health services.'

"The best way of helping children, especially those suffering abuse at home, is by having a special staff member in every school, just like school nurses, who can spot the problem and offer help as soon as it is needed."

The Liberal Democrats want the Government to act on the findings of this report now. Prevention has long been overlooked and is key to stopping young people reaching crisis point.

Providing access to mental health support in schools would be a lifeline to many young people, yet the lack of ambition from Government in only promising a fifth of schools a counsellor by 2023 is woeful. Every school should have a counsellor.

The need is all the more urgent due to the pandemic.

You can read the statement by the Children's Commissioner, Anne Longfield, and her full report by clicking here.