We are a coalition of leading organisations from across England, with a growing base of supporters who are passionate about the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.
Through the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, our charities come together and speak as one on behalf of children and young people’s mental health. The Coalition was launched in the House of Lords in March 2010 and is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.
We are chaired by Dame Sue Bailey and Dr Pooky Knightsmith and operate thanks to the generosity of Zurich Community Trust.
What do we mean by mental health?
We see mental health as everyone’s business. When one of us is in distress, there are implications for everyone: lost potential, unemployment and crime are just some of the consequences.
We want government to hear that. We would like ministers, commissioners and everyone who makes decisions relating to children and young people to note that promoting positive mental health, preventing mental ill health, and intervening early when problems arise requires cross-government action. It is not only the concern of specialist services within the NHS.
Our attention is focused on policy in England rather than the UK as a whole as Scotland, Ireland and Wales now have their own priorities within young people's mental health. In light of significant gaps and weaknesses in government policy, we have chosen to focus on the following areas from 2014:
- Ensure that there is universal information for all parents and targeted support for vulnerable parents to promote babies’ emotional development.
- Promote early intervention by ensuring the provision of local services that are jointly designed with children and young people, and give easy access to support for their mental health to reduce problems and long term risk.
- Ensure the provision of age appropriate mental health and wellbeing services for 16-25 year olds based on a holistic local assessment of their needs.
- Commissioning: It is essential that at a local and national level, commissioning of children and young people’s mental health services is based on current data about needs and underpinned by robust policy and good practice.
- Publish guidance for training providers across the children and young people’s workforce on the inclusion of children’s development and mental health in their training curriculums to establish this is a public health priority.
Our previous priorities from 2012-13 were:
- Schools: Improving students’ behaviour, academic achievement and attendance relies on good mental health. We are calling on all school leaders and teachers to champion a whole school culture of good emotional well-being and resilience.
- Public Mental Health: The state of public health tomorrow will be dependent on the mental health of children and young people today. Mental health needs to be an integral aspect of the new public health system, and a key remit of Public Health England.
Our previous priorities from 2010-12 were:
- The Early Years: Parenting makes all the difference. Giving every parent the knowledge and tools to look after their own mental health and their children’s wellbeing will make for happier families and prevent a lot of problems later on.
- Building Emotional Resilience: As children grow up, they need to learn how to look after their mental health, how to deal with problems, and how to help each other. Supporting them to do so is vital.
- Reaching Adulthood: Provision is poorest when people need it most – as they become adults. We know that brain development continues into the mid-20s. The multiple needs of young people at this time deserve to be met adequately.
- Seldom Heard Voices: In order to design services that meet every individual’s needs, every individual must be heard. So children and young people of all genders, sexualities, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities and religions should have their say.