Yorkshire Post: Caring For Our Children's Mental Health

Mental Health is one of the biggest challenges of our society and it affects children.

According to NHS data, one in eight (12.8 per cent) of 5 to 19 years old assessed in 2017 had a mental health disorder, the most prevalent being emotional ones.

More help for mental health is a focus of mine locally and I am pleased that the Government is committed to record investments to improve both our understanding of mental health issues and the level of resources available to those in need.

I am extremely encouraged by the news that as part of the £20.5 billion a year extra investment into the NHS, mental health services will receive an additional £2 billion per year.

A new mental health crisis service with comprehensive mental health support will be available in every major A&E, alongside new children and young peoples’ crisis teams across the country.

The establishment of a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline when people are in urgent need of help is also very welcome.

I am looking forward to meeting with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, to discuss mental health issues among young people.

I will meet with the Minister in the coming weeks to discuss the issues facing young people today, how this is likely to impact on their mental health, and what provisions are available in order to support young people who may be going through difficult times.

Many charities in Yorkshire and across the country have a fundamental role in safeguarding children health and well-being.

On Friday, I attended an important event at Morley Newlands School that helped to promote awareness of mental health and well-being to 
pupils. I met with representatives from the charity Place2Be to discuss what this brilliant organisation can offer to those facing mental health issues and how this support can be shared within schools in the region. I joined with students in a class activity focusing on sleep, and how this is important to ensuring a healthy, clear, mind and increased individual well-being.

It was good to see the students embrace the core messages of this activity. I spoke with the head girl and head boy about their experiences of Children’s Mental Health Week and it was great to hear that so many students had learnt new things and would be better prepared for any potentially difficult situations that the future could bring.

In the age of social media when our kids have so many pressures it is fundamental to provide them with help and skills to be resilient in difficult moments.

Children’s Mental Health Week was a vital and useful way to draw attention to this important issue and I would like to thank all the charities, schools, parents, pupils, and everyone else involved for helping to raise awareness and encourage young people to look after their bodies and their minds.