#childrensmhw 2017 | Create a Mental Health Children’s Premium | #MHCPUK

This week is Children's Mental Health Week (#childrensmhw).  Children's mental health in the UK is in a state of crisis and something needs to change, soon.  

Today, we are launching a series of daily blog posts related to #childrensmhw.  We are also launching a campaign for a Mental Health Children's Premium (#MHCPUK) with a petition on change.org to be delivered to the Rt Hon Justine Greening, MP, Secretary of State for Education. 

We hope you will find this week's blog posts useful and that you will sign and share our petition. ​

THE PROBLEM:

  • 1 in every 10 children (that's 3 in every class!) has a mental health problem
  • Suicide is the biggest cause of death for boys aged 5-19, and the second biggest for girls in the same age group
  • Nearly a quarter of children referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) are being turned away. Waiting times can be as long as 6 months for a first appointment and 42 weeks for the start of treatment.

According to the CentreForum Commission on Children and Young People’s Mental Health: ‘State of the Nation’ report:

"Mental health problems are linked to premature mortality and can also be life limiting. Young people with an emotional disorder are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs than other children; more likely to have time off school and fall behind in their education; and are more likely to earn less money as adults or to experience unemployment. As well as the personal cost, the estimated long term cost to the economy of mental health problems is £105bn a year.

Some of the risk factors for mental health problems are common occurrences in young people’s lives, such as long term physical illness, bereavement and parental separation or divorce. It is therefore essential to have provision for early support and intervention when such life events that are potential triggers occur, to prevent longer-term mental health issues from developing. Unfortunately, the provision for early intervention and support is simply not there, as the report shows.

THE SOLUTION:

If the system isn't working, we need to change the system. Much more money and effort needs to be put into prevention of mental illness, rather than hoping that limited funds and resources will be sufficient once it's already too late and a child's mental health has been compromised.

Schools can access 'Pupil Premium' and 'Sport Premium' funding. We believe that ALL schools should have access to a new fund - 'MENTAL HEALTH CHILDREN'S PREMIUM' (#MHCPUK)- for preventative interventions to be available to ALL children.

Schools will then be able to spend the funds in whichever way they feel is best to support their children's mental health. They may wish to provide their teachers with additional training, or to bring in external programme providers, or a combination of any possible measures.

The important thing is for an annual amount to be 'ringfenced' for this purpose so that every school can support every child with preventative mental health interventions that will enable children to thrive and flourish in all aspects of their lives.

Not only is this a moral obligation we have as a nation, but it makes economic sense, too (see 'the problem', above).

Please help make the MENTAL HEALTH CHILDREN'S PREMIUM a reality. Sign the petition and share it. Spread the #MHCPUK hashtag and spread the message. Improve children's lives in the present and in their adult future.

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RWS Team

The RWS programme helps develop children's life-long resilience, wellbeing and success skills.