Govt’s Mental Health Plans For Young People Will ‘Fail A Generation’
The government is not doing enough to support young people in the UK, particularly those with mental health issues.
This is according to a report from both the Education and Health and Social Care Committees, which stated the government’s proposals to transform mental health care for children in England fell short of required standards.
In December, it revealed its Green Paper on Transforming Children and Yong People’s Mental Health Provision. Included in the report were suggestions to cut waiting time to four weeks, and provide mental health support and training in schools.
However, the MPs who joined forces to create the document, entitled The Government’s Green Paper On Mental Health: Failing A Generation, said the proposals were “unambitious” and risk leaving hundreds of thousands of children without adequate support.
The government was criticised by not having enough emphasis on early intervention, with the report saying: “A lack of focus on the early years means that opportunities are being missed to promote emotional resilience and prevent mental health and wellbeing problems later in life.”
It was noted that reducing funding for health visitors and children’s centres across the UK could have a negative impact in those five years old and under, as “there is no consideration given to the important role [they play]”.
Chief executive of the Alliance Neil Leitch added that support in the early years is essential, as “the first five years of a child’s life are pivotal to their long-term development and so there is simply no excuse for the lack of focus on the early years in the Green Paper”.
Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, also noted that 28 per cent of children face difficulties that could affect their mental health even before they start school.
It is not just the government’s absence of consideration for early years that has been heavily criticised. The MPs also slated its lack of emphasis on social media and exam pressures on young people.
The paper revealed many children felt a “considerable amount of pressure” as a result of exam stress. It argued the government should conduct independent research into the evidence of exam anxiety and build up youngsters’ resilience to deal with it.
With regards to social media, the committees said it looks forward to finding out more about the impact of technology on young people and maintained that PSHE should be compulsory in schools, and social medical education should be included in the curriculum.
A major criticism of the government’s proposals is its lengthy timeframe. It estimated it would roll out plans to between a fifth and a quarter of the country by 2022-23, which the MPs stated was “not ambitious enough”.
Young people who suffer from depression, stress, anxiety or any other mental health condition need to be given enough support, which is currently lacking in the British education system.
Many parents concerned about their children could help them by talking to Manchester counsellors who can advise on the best way to approach their youngster and provide them with the support they need.