The Government has taken vital steps to improve mental health services in our schools, but more needs to be done to keep pace with the size of the challenge.
This week marks Children’s Mental Health Week. We often don’t speak about the impact of the Covid pandemic and various lockdowns on the wellbeing of our children. As a parent myself I witnessed the effect of the crisis on my family. Those of us like me with disabled children will have experienced even more acute effects.
We have seen incredibly worrying trends for children and young people; twenty per cent of those aged seven to sixteen years old will be battling a likely mental health disorder. This has risen significantly from twelve per cent in 2017, placing unprecedented pressures on the NHS’s children’s mental health services.
Combined with a school absence crisis that is rife across the country, we face a situation where nearly half a million children are struggling with a mental health problem and many of them will have to wait up to five years to receive the treatment they need, due to the postcode lottery embedded in our system.
As adults, many of us will have experienced, or know friends or family members who have struggled with, mental health issues. We know just how frightening it can be and how the simple act of talking to someone can often help. It is difficult to imagine just how scary and distressing it must be for a child or young person suffering from similar issues.