“Today sees the first of the election manifestos published, with the launch of the Lib Dem’s manifesto. The Lib Dems have pledged to put mental health on an equal footing to physical health and prioritise early access to mental health services for all. For children and young people, we welcome the commitments to establish early support hubs for children and young people in every community and to introduce a qualified mental health professional in every school – these are things Coalition members have long been calling for.

For specialist children and young people’s mental health services, the manifesto pledges to extend these up the age of 25 in order to end the tricky transitions to adult services. This was a commitment first laid out in the NHS Long-Term Plan, published in 2019, but we have yet to see it materialise across all areas of the country. The commitment to address the neglect and underfunding of children’s mental health services is also positive, but it must be ensured this reaches the frontline rapidly and is used to create a comprehensive pathway of support for all babies, children and young people in every local area.

Whilst we welcome the commitment to modernise the Mental Health Act, no timetable to bring forward a new Mental Health Bill has been set out. We urge all political parties to prioritise the introduction of new Mental Health Bill as part of the first King’s Speech and this should include specific provisions for children and young people to ensure their rights are protected.

We call on all political parties to put the mental health of babies, children and young people at the top of the agenda this election. This should include setting out a long-term, cross government mental health strategy, backed by increased investment in the mental health system.”