We’ve co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for greater action to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on young people’s mental health.
It urges the Government to ensure there’s a clear plan so all children and young people who need mental health support can get it, now and as restrictions change.
We believe it’s vital that children and young people have access to professional qualified counsellors in their schools or through a community setting to support them through this pandemic, as well as the through the other challenges they face in their everyday lives.
The letter, which has also been sent to the Secretaries of State for Health and Education, has been coordinated by Young Minds as part of its #BeyondTomorrow campaign, and signed by more than 30 children, young people and mental health organisations.
What we say
Our Chair Natalie Bailey, who signed the letter on our behalf, said: “The Government needs to act now to support children and young people’s mental health through this pandemic and the uncertain future ahead.
“School counsellors are already playing a crucial role, offering online or phone counselling and supporting young people through this challenging time. A paid counsellor for every school would ensure that vulnerable young people have access to the support they need as they face the long-term consequences of the pandemic.
“Young people are being affected by the fear of them or their loved ones becoming ill, isolation and a lack of social connection, disruption to their routines and education, as well as many other challenges in their lives.
“Counselling can help them explore how they are feeling about these pressures, understand them and learn how to cope and go on to thrive in their lives.
“We will continue to campaign relentlessly for children and young people, wherever they live across the UK, to have equal access to support, during the pandemic and as we move out of lockdown.”
What the letter says
The letter to the Prime Minister reads: “Before the pandemic, young people’s mental health was beginning to get the attention and resourcing it needs – but, despite improvements, services were often overstretched and inconsistent across the country. With demand likely to increase, we cannot afford to lose momentum.”
It adds: “Your Government must take a clear and coordinated approach to tackling the impact of the pandemic on children and young people, launching a recovery plan that enables the growth and continuity of support as restrictions change."
The letter calls on the Government to:
Offer immediate emergency funding to increase young people’s and families’ access to mental health support and ensure that clear routes are available for young people to access NHS mental health services while restrictions are in place.
Launch a national campaign to reach 10 million children and young people, and their families, to promote positive approaches for maintaining mental wellbeing.
Deliver a wellbeing support package for schools, enabling them to prioritise wellbeing now and over the next academic year, and providing guidance and resources on how to manage transitions when it is safe for students to return to school.
Commit to introducing additional support for young people’s mental health as we move out of the pandemic to meet rising demand, including re-committing to the measures outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan in full and funding additional early intervention services.
Coronavirus: Helping children and teenagers cope with change, isolation and uncertainty
Our members talk about what parents can do to help young people who are struggling
Tackling the mental health consequences of coronavirus
Back our COVID-19 campaign to reaffirm the critical role that counselling and psychotherapy needs to play in supporting the nation through the coronavirus crisis and in helping to repair it afterwards.
Children, young people and families
Promoting the importance of early intervention and access to timely psychological therapies for children, young people and families.