This is a very difficult time for society, so much so for our children, young people and their families. Not only have their lives, education and support systems been disrupted, they also don’t know when anything will be back to normal. The work of our members and the power of collaboration is always crucial in improving children and young people’s mental health. That seems even more true at times like this.

In the midst of these challenging moments for our members and everyone they work with, we are very pleased to be able to tell you that Sir Norman Lamb has agreed to become the new Chair of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition.

Speaking about the appointment, Kadra Abdinasir, Strategic Lead, said: “We have been carefully searching for the right Chair to continue Dame Sue Bailey and Dr Pooky Knightsmith’s excellent leadership. We could not be more excited for Sir Norman to take up the mantle. His brilliant track record of change-making, as well as his considerable experience and passion, will be invaluable in the Coalition further improving children and young people’s wellbeing.”

Sir Norman’s work in improving mental health speaks for itself. His tireless campaigning on parity of esteem for mental health was evident during his time as North Norfolk’s Member of Parliament. This included being Health Minister from 2012 to 2015, overseeing the development of the ground-breaking Future in Mind initiative, and Shadow Health Secretary for 6 years total. Sir Norman’s longstanding commitment to the cause brought respect and recognition across politics, regardless of party. His dedication and success in improving the lives of so many across the country was recognised with a Knighthood in 2019.

On his new role, Sir Norman said: “I know from my time in the field that mental health is affected by so many factors. We need decision makers, statutory bodies, families and the voluntary sector all working together for our children and young people. That’s why I’m so excited to be able to Chair the Coalition, working across the sector. It’s never been more important to make sure that we are cooperating, collaborating and innovating to ensure all children and young people’s mental health is prioritised. I can’t wait to support the Coalition and further its goals in improving mental health across the country.”

Sir Norman is currently the Chair of the NHS South London and Maudsley trust. He will begin chairing the coalition alongside this role on May 1st.

Clare Stafford, CEO of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, has been acting as interim chair and has kindly agreed to take on a Vice-Chair role. We are very grateful to Clare for her continued involvement and her time spent helping the Coalition achieve its goals.