We're calling on the Government to limit the long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on young people’s mental health
About the campaign
The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest health crisis for generations. The measures that the Government has taken to limit the spread of the virus, including restrictions on movement and the closure of schools to most students, have been necessary to save lives.
However, what happens now will have a lasting impact on young people’s mental health, for years to come - whether that's because of traumatic experiences at home, the pressures of isolation, or a breakdown in the support that gives them hope.
Services are working hard to continue providing support for young people, but they’re under huge pressure, and we need to prepare for more young people needing support for their mental health now that restrictions are lifting.
That’s why we’re calling on the Government to take urgent action to make sure that all young people can get the help they need when they need it.
The campaign so far
Government announces additional funding for mental health charities
In May, shortly after the launch of the Beyond Tomorrow campaign, we had an early victory when the Government announced a £4.2 million package for mental health charities in response to the pandemic. This was thanks to early support of the campaign and the letter that we sent to the Prime Minister, together with over 30 organisations, calling for the government to offer immediate financial support to increase young people’s and families access to mental health support through charities and helplines.
Government suspends Ofsted inspections for the Autumn term
In June and July we voiced our concerns about the need for schools to have a transition period when they reopened to more students, where wellbeing would be a top priority. At the start of July, the Government promised to provide new wellbeing resources to schools, and announced that Ofsted inspections would be suspended for the Autumn term. Ofsted inspections would have likely placed additional pressure on schools at a time when they are already under stress. This is an important step in the right direction, but there is more to do. For example, we believe that the threat of fines for parents whose children are too anxious to attend school is counter-productive.
Prime Minister urged to create Mental Health Renewal Plan for England by major coalition of charities
We joined forces with charities across the sector to write to the Prime Minister calling for a cross-government approach to put the nation’s mental health at the heart of any Covid-19 recovery plan. The coalition, which consists of over 50 charities, asked for government to work with the charity sector and provide the financial and political backing to develop policy and unlock crucial funding across England.
Why we still need you to take action
It’s important that the Government are listening to our concerns but we need them to ensure that all young people who need immediate mental health support can get it. We also want them to commit to introducing additional support for young people’s mental health beyond the current crisis, in order to tackle the anticipated rise in mental health needs.
Together we can limit the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on young people’s mental health, but we need your help. We will be launching a new movement for young people’s mental health next year and we want you to join us.
What we’re calling for
We are calling on the Government to commit to a recovery plan for children and young people’s mental health. This should include:
- Ring-fenced funding for mental health in schools, colleges and universities to enable them to provide mental health support to all young people who need it.
- A transition period of at least one academic term for schools, colleges and universities in which allowances are made for the effects of trauma or emotional distress; this means reviewing behaviour policies, attendance policies and accountability measures, including suspending the reintroduction of fines related to attendance.
- Support for the NHS to cope with a rise in demand for mental health support, enabling face-to-face support to resume widely where possible, and committing to accelerating the mental health ambitions of the NHS Long-Term Plan.
- A wellbeing campaign that is co-produced with, and targeted towards, children and young people, to help them support themselves and find effective help when they need it
- A long-term cross government strategy on young people’s mental health that prioritises early intervention in our communities, with clear funding in place, working alongside the voluntary sector to address the inequalities and pressures that affect young people’s mental health.
Did you know?
- In our recent survey with parents and carers, 67% of respondents agreed they are concerned about the long-term impact of the coronavirus on their child’s mental health. This rose to 77% among parents and carers whose children have required mental health support in the last three months.Among parents whose children had received mental health support in the previous three months (through the NHS, private providers, school counsellors, charities and helplines) 25% said that their child was no longer able to access it, but still needed it.
- In a survey with young people at the start of the pandemic, 83% said that the crisis had made their mental health worse. In a follow up survey in June, 41% said it had made their mental health “much worse”, up from 32% in the previous survey in March.
- 31% of young people who were accessing mental health support before the crisis are no longer receiving it.
- 87% of young people agreed that they had felt lonely or isolated during the lockdown period, even though 71% had been able to stay in touch with friends.
- In our survey with teachers and school staff, 74% agreed that schools being closed to most students over the period of lockdown, and in some areas during the transition out of lockdown, have had a negative impact on the mental health of young people, 88% of respondents thought that a lack of structure and routine would have an effect on student wellbeing and 24% of respondents felt unconfident that their school or college was well equipped to support students on their return.
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