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More Action Needed To Prevent Mental Health Problems

The government has published a new consultation, Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, which outlines plans to tackle the causes of preventable ill health – including mental ill health.

The government has published a new consultation, Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, which outlines plans to tackle the causes of preventable ill health – including mental ill health.

The proposals include:

  • Providing advice for children and young people on dealing with difficult emotions and situations through the Rise Above Programme
  • Encouraging local authorities to put mental health promotion plans in place
  • Launching a public campaign to help adults look after their own mental health, and to give advice to parents on their children’s mental health and wellbeing.
  • Continuing with initiatives the government has previously announced – including mental health training for teachers, putting mental health on the school curriculum and publishing new guidance for schools on how to promote wellbeing.

The consultation also stresses the links between the circumstances children grow up in and their wellbeing, and the need to “tackle the risk factors that can lead to poor mental health, such as adverse childhood events, violence, poverty, problem debt, housing insecurity, social isolation and bullying”.

These plans are a step in the right direction, but don’t go far enough.

Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said:

“It is positive that the Government is looking at how to prevent mental health problems, and how to promote good mental health. But these plans need to go further for children and young people."

Prevention and early intervention must be a priority, to stop the escalation of need
Emma Thomas - Chief Executive

“Right now, only a third of young people with a diagnosable mental health problem can get support from the NHS. Prevention and early intervention must be a priority, to stop the escalation of need and ensure that more young people can get help before they require specialist support.

 This will require coordinated action across the government to ensure that children and young people and  families are given the knowledge, skills and resources to be able to look after their mental health. Next year’s Spending Review must also lead to increased investment in promoting positive mental health and in taking early action to support young people and families. And we need to see more action on supporting young people who have lived through traumatic experiences, and on supporting professionals who work with them.

When she became Prime Minister, Theresa May spoke about poor access to mental health services as one of the ‘burning injustices’ of our society. Boris Johnson must also commit to making mental health a priority, and focus on the need to act early rather than wait until young people reach crisis point.”

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