Today sees the launch of the Labour Party manifesto, the last of the manifestos from the major political parties. The manifesto sets out the ambition for ‘this to be the healthiest generation of children ever’ and makes a range of commitments on mental health in order to help achieve this. This includes welcome pledges to provide access to a mental health professional in every school and to establish Youth Future’s Hubs in every local area so that children and young people can access early support for their mental health.

To tackle long waiting times for support, the manifesto pledges to recruit more staff in the first term. The children’s mental health system must not be forgotten in these plans. It is crucial that additional resources are prioritised for children and young people’s mental health as too often, they are left behind. This must be backed by increased funding so that local areas are able to create comprehensive pathways of mental health support for all babies, children and young people.

The manifesto recognises the need to modernise the Mental Health Act yet does not set out a clear timetable for this. We urge all political parties to bring forward a new Mental Health Bill as part of the first King’s Speech and it is crucial that the principles for reform are equally applied to children and young people.

As we approach the election, the mental health of babies, children and young people cannot be ignored. To ensure mental health is top of the agenda, we call on all political parties to commit to creating a long-term, cross-government mental health strategy which prioritises the needs of babies, children and young people.