Ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week (3rd-9th February), Lucy joined young people and mental health experts from leading UK children’s charity, Action for Children, in Parliament to hear about their mental health services which help children and young people build healthy, happy minds.
Mental health problems affect children of all ages and, worryingly, the latest NHS figures show one in eight 5-19-year-olds in England have at least one mental health disorder.
To help young people who are struggling, Action for Children is delivering the first UK-wide early help intervention targeted at teenage depression. Funded in partnership with Royal Mail, the Blues Programme helps teens who are suffering from, or at risk of, mental health problems. Over three-quarters (76%) of pupils taking part have improved their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Attending the event, Lucy heard from young people who have taken part in the Blues Programme and pledged to support Action for Children’s efforts to ensure children and young people with mental health difficulties get the support they need, when they need it.
Lucy Allan MP said:
“The growing number of mental health challenges facing children and teenagers is a very worrying trend. Intervening early is crucial and we need to do everything we can, not only to help young people struggling with their mental health, but to prevent problems coming about in the first place. The work of charities like Action for Children is critical to address the mental health challenges our children face today and to give them the support and foundations they need to thrive in future.”
Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of Action for Children, said:
“When more than a quarter of young people tell us that they worry about their own mental health, it’s clear that a crisis is emerging.
Every day we support children and teenagers who are struggling for many different reasons. Some are concerned about their futures, many are dealing with the intense pressure of school work and others are experiencing problems at home – all while navigating a complex 24/7 world with constant stimulation from social media.
Support from MPs like Lucy means we can do even more to help stop mental health problems in their tracks – by stepping in early to keep issues from spiralling downwards, and supporting young people to bounce back if they do.”