During Children’s Mental Health Week (1-7 February), Robbie Moore joined young people and mental health experts from leading UK children’s charity, Action for Children, for an online event to discuss the services which are supporting children across the UK.
Mental health problems affect children of all ages. Worryingly, the latest NHS figures show one in six children had a probable mental health disorder in 2020 – an increase of almost half in three years, with the Covid-19 pandemic likely to have further detrimental effects on mental health.
Action for Children delivers a range of interventions to support and promote good mental health and emotional wellbeing. Programmes such as Bouncing Back and the Blues Programme equip young people with the skills and tools they need to manage their emotional wellbeing and reduce the risk of more intense mental health issues, while Parent Talk offers free online support for parents.
Almost three-quarters (72%) of pupils completing the Blues Programme have improved their mental health and emotional wellbeing, and 87% completing Bouncing Back know when to ask for help.
Attending the event, the Keighley and Ilkley MP heard from young people who have taken part in these programmes 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. Following the event, Robbie met with local charity Roshni Ghar to discuss issues relating to mental health in children across the Keighley and Ilkley constituency.
Robbie Moore MP said: “The growing number of children and young people facing mental health challenges must be a real concern for us all, and tackling this situation needs to be a priority.
“We know that intervening early can make all the difference, and we need to do everything we can to help those young people struggling with their mental health.
“Charities like Action for Children and Roshni Ghar are working hard to help address the mental health challenges our children face, and I welcome their efforts to provide vital support at such a critical time.”
Melanie Armstrong, Chief Executive of Action for Children, said: “Even before the pandemic, young people were telling us they worried about their mental health. Now, with lockdowns and uncertainty about the future, we know these problems are worsening.
“Our services tell us that young people are struggling at home without their usual support networks, having to cope with the pressures of remote learning, loneliness and family health fears – all the while being bombarded by social media and depressing headlines.
“Support from MPs like Robbie means we can equip more young people with the skills they need to manage their mental health and emotional wellbeing, stepping in early to help stop mental health problems in their tracks and supporting those who need our help to bounce back.”