Government launches children’s mental health campaign

Health minister Alistair Burt has announced that the government will be doing more to reduce the stigma of children’s mental health issues.


Helping young people cope

Next month, the government department will be launching its ‘largest ever’ anti-stigma campaign for teenagers that suffer with mental health problems. It will cost over £600,000 and will specifically target 14-18 year olds.

According to mental health charity Time To Change, one in ten children will experience a mental health problem, ranging anywhere from depression, to self-harm, to eating disorders.

The campaign will leverage social media and embark on visits to schools across the UK to help tackle mental health problems head on.


‘Biggest transformation to young people’s mental health’

In a speech today (October 22nd), Burt was keen to explain that the campaign will promote good mental health and wellbeing, while at the same time intervening early when young people have mental health issues.

‘‘Today we’re talking about nothing short of the biggest transformation to young people’s mental health and one of the largest investments the sector has seen,’’ explained the health minister.

‘‘I want to deliver a clear joined-up approach to mental health care, so children and young people can navigate through the system to get the care they need.’’

‘‘And I want there to be a culture of continuous improvement, built off the back of the very best and latest evidence. There is a powerful local consensus to do exactly this; people want to transform the local offer made to young people and their families.’’

Alistair went on to talk about the government’s partnership with the Health and Social Care Information Centre, as they look to commission the UK’s first national survey of children and young people’s mental health in over ten years.

The Office for National Statistics and NatCen will work together on the survey, which will begin immediately.

‘‘The new survey will be much wider in scope than in previous years – involving 9,500 children, their parents, carers and teachers. And for the first time ever, the survey will gather information from the under 5s and from older adolescents, greatly improving our understanding of the needs of these groups,’’ continued Burt.


What has the response been like?

The general response from charities has been positive, but many have hit out at the fact that it’s taken so long for the department to conduct a survey of this magnitude.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of mental health charity YoungMinds, said that the long wait for the survey’s results will stop young people from receiving help.

‘‘The news of the much awaited children and young people’s national prevalence survey is also welcomed, though we are disappointed that the results will not be available until 2018,’’ said Brennan.

‘‘It is universally agreed by all who care about the mental health of children and young people that lack of data is a major block to effective prevention, early intervention and treatment.’’

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