I have been a long-time campaigner on mental health issues and have long opposed the creeping privatisation and underfunding of our mental health and medical services provided through the NHS.
I am very concerned about the lack of support currently available and that many children don’t have access to services to get the mental health support they need.
What is very worrying is that the official English survey of child mental health has found that children in families who have fallen behind on bills payments are more than twice as likely to show signs of having a mental disorder.
Thus, the link between poverty and mental health is clear for everyone to see and is heart-breaking. Poverty and inequality have of course worsened during the Pandemic, 80% of young people have said that their mental health worsened during the covid-19 outbreak. The current emphasis on behaviour and discipline in schools, instead of promoting belonging and wellbeing, will only add fuel to the fire.
In England less than 10% of mental health funding goes to services for children and young people and a 2018 review of the NHS Five Year Forward View found that money intended for mental health had been used to plug funding gaps in the wider NHS.
I support calls for the Government to properly fund mental health services so that every child and young person who needs it can access professional support. I was elected on a manifesto that promised to radically improve the mental health support available to young people.
I will continue do all I can to advocate in parliament, and in wider campaigning, to secure a long-term funding settlement for children’s mental health services.