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07/01/21 – New Year’s Cheer for Children’s Mental Health

 Parliament resumed today for Statements from the Prime Minister and also the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson. 

Dr Lisa Cameron MP; Spokesperson for the SNP on Mental Health asked the following question to Gavin Williamson after his Statement in the House of Commons: 

‘‘Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College fo Psychiatrists has described the covid-19 pandemic as the greatest threat to mental health 

‘Since the second world War.’ 

As chair of the health all-party parliamentary group, I have been receiving concerned emails from parents across the United Kingdom regarding mental health. Given that children have experienced isolation and trauma – and may have experienced bereavement – will the Secretary of State now take the opportunity to announce ring-fenced funding for a much-needed mental health and wellbeing strategy for children?’’ 

In his reply, Gavin Williamson said: 

‘‘It would be great to have an opportunity to meet her….It would be really good to have a four-nations approach to how we support young people with the real challenges of mental health. I look forward to having that discussion with her; because I know she feels passionately about this issue, as so many Members of this House do. It is very much a cross-party issue and I very much hope we can find some cross-party solutions on how we can best support our young people.’’ 

Helen Clark; Campaign Spokesperson for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign and Lead Author of the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood said: 

‘‘That is fantastic news and our hearty congratulations to Lisa for succeeding in obtaining a meeting with the Secretary of State about the need for a properly funded child mental health strategy. We have long argued that this is a cross party issue as support for Early Day Motion 923, ‘A Covid-19 Mental Health Recovery Strategy for Children,’ bears witness. 

The devolved governments of Wales and Scotland have already implemented some excellent and well resourced strategies for children’s mental health and wellbeing and it is encouraging that the Secretary of State for Education in the UK government is now looking towards a properly co-ordinated four government approach to this urgent matter. 

This is excellent news and I look forward to hearing about the outcome of the meeting. 

If 2021 also heralds the establishment of a timetable for the reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act with the needs of children at its heart, it would truly be a year to remember. 

Here’s hoping and a very Happy New Year to one and all!’’