The Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield recently published a much needed ‘Manifesto for Children’ which calls on political parties to include a six-point plan in their election manifestos to transform the life chances for disadvantaged children and to help all of England’s 12 million children to thrive. This is targeted at all politicians and not one specific political party.
One of the areas the Manifesto highlights is the poor state of children’s mental health. The first national survey for 14 years- ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2017 NHS Digital November 2018’ was published in October 2018 . This shows one in eight children has some form of “mental disorder”. In younger children, these are more common in boys; amongst teenagers, more girls suffer. Even ‘lower level’ mental health problems such as anxiety and emotional problems can be crippling, holding growing kids back in every part of their lives. Local services, where they do exist, are patchy, uncoordinated and inadequate.
What children tell the Children’s Commissioner they want – time and time again – is access to mental health support, quicker, more conveniently and ideally delivered in schools where it would attract less stigma. This is exactly what Platform for Life strives to do- work in local communities and make mental health support available to families living in poverty in a way that’s quick and easy to access and accommodates the chaos and stress they’re living with already day to day. So if we do end up with an election in the foreseeable future, ask your politician what their party is committed to do to meet the Manifesto for Children.