Scandalous lack of mental health support for schoolchildren
Scandalous lack of mental health support for schoolchildren

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh reveals the government’s flagship mental health support for schools will mean just one mental health specialist for approximately every 2,800 children.

This Children’s Mental Health Week (7 – 13 February), Louise Haigh is highlighting the inadequate support for young people across the region. This comes after the Children’s Commissioner found that two-thirds of children don’t get the support they need and that 1 in 6 children now have a mental health disorder, compared to 1 in 9 before the pandemic.

In March 2021, the government announced £79 million as part of their commitment to support young people with their mental health. The then Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Nadine Dorries said: “I am committed to supporting everyone’s mental health and wellbeing and doing everything we can to ensure young people who need help, get it.”

Today (8 February) Labour have called on Conservative MPs to back their plan to transform mental health services and guarantee that all who need support, including children, access it within a month. Labour’s plan would also see a full-time mental health professional in every secondary school and a part-time professional in primary school. They would also put an open access mental health hub for children and young people in every community.

Recently, Louise Haigh also revealed that just £53,000 was made available by the government for Sheffield schools – which equates to 72p per child in the city.

Louise Haigh, said:

“I have spoken to lots of students and parents and the message that I keep hearing over and over again is that mental health provision is not adequate for young people. Services are under immense stress and the funding that’s been provided by the government scandalous.

“I’ve been contacted by one parent whose child is self-harming and they cannot access mental health services because they are overwhelmed. This parent told me that the current support is appallingly inadequate and an additional 72p per child is going to do nothing to shore up the system. The system is broken.

“Before the pandemic hit, waiting lists for children and young people to access mental health were already completely unacceptable, now they’re even worse. The pandemic has obviously increased anxiety and exacerbated issues that already existed, but the Government simply isn’t addressing the levels of demand in our communities.

“Labour has a plan that will provide young people with access to the support they need at the time that they need it. I’m calling on all Tory MPs to back our plan and ensure that they deliver and support our young people.”

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