This Children’s Mental Health Week we’re using our voice to highlight what needs to be done to make a difference in the lives of millions of children who are struggling with their mental health.

Charity Place2Be holds the week every year to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people's mental health. This year it has a theme of My Voice Matters and takes place from 5 to 11 February.

This week is needed now more than ever before – and like many organisations our campaigning for children’s mental health takes place throughout the year.

Our focus is on ensuring there is greater provision of counselling in schools and within other community settings.

What’s the situation with children’s mental health?

One in five children and young people in England aged eight to 25 had a probable mental health issue in 2023, NHS data shows. That’s up from one in six in 2022.

Our Mindometer survey of our members shows that nearly three out of four (72%) therapists working with children under the age of 18 reported that children’s mental health has deteriorated compared to last year.

We know that children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing have been affected by a range of issues, including the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and fears about the world around them.

More young people are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing – and they’re finding it harder to access professional support. Waiting lists are growing, while resources and funding are being cut.

We have more than 19,000 members who are trained to work therapeutically with children and young people. They need to be part of the solution to the children’s mental health crisis.

And this is a crucial year with a General Election on the horizon.

Political parties must make children’s mental health a priority.

What are we doing?

We’re writing to all parties in the run up to the General Election explaining how a Government-funded school counselling model could work.

We’re working in partnership with Citizens UK to produce a joint policy paper that we’ll share with political parties during Children’s Mental Health Week focusing on funding model options, as well as highlighting ways to increase the workforce capacity.

The Labour Party has already committed to a counsellor in every school. We’ve briefed the Liberal Democrats as they have proposed a bill in Parliament which includes a counsellor in every school.

Alongside Citizens UK, we’ve also secured a commitment in the Green Party’s manifesto for a counsellor in every school and college.

We’re already involved in campaigns including the Fund the Hubs campaign with a coalition of charities, that has already seen some success with Government investment in community settings.

Our work extends across the UK, to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too where statutory school counselling is in place. We want to ensure that even if budgets are cut, mental health remains at the forefront of funding. Our collaborative work in Northern Ireland is a key part of this.

Children and young people’s voices matter

It’s also important that we listen to what children and young people say about counselling.

Comments from young people that we shared as part of our work in Northern Ireland offer powerful evidence of the difference school counselling makes in children’s lives.

They include:

“It was good because it helped get things off my mind”

“I was listened to and it made me feel better.”

“Now I can control my temper”

“I will remember to do my breathing when I feel scared”

Share to raise awareness

We’ll be highlighting our calls for action across our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn during Children’s Mental Health Week using the hashtag #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek.

Please share to help raise awareness of our calls.