‘On Friday 18th March Munira Wilson’s Private Members’ Bill: ‘Mental Health Provision (Children and Young People) had its Second Reading in the House of Commons.
The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign supported this Bill and Sophia O’Neill and Helen Clark met its proposer, Munira Wilson MP to discuss it. The Bill aimed to require the Government to report annually to Parliament on mental health provision for children and young people.
The Government did not accept the Bill and so no further parliamentary time will be allocated to its progression. However, 12 MPs: 9 Conservative, 12 Liberal Democrat and 2 Labour attended the House to speak in the debate (on a day when owing to a weekly ‘One Line Whip’, MPs are traditionally in their constituencies). The CMHC Campaign has written to each of the MPs to thank them for their time and interest on the 18th; also requesting a Zoom or Teams meeting with them so that we can further inform them about the Charter and the need for its Six Principles to underpin provision for children and young people in the promised forthcoming Government legislation to reform the 1983 Mental Health Act.
The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign believes that mental health services for children and young people in the widest sense must be central to such a reform.
The recent White Paper made welcome reference to improved autism services, but otherwise, all references to children and young people were confined to matters of restraint and clinical treatment. We believe that intervention at the earliest opportunity, in school and community settings would avert the need for stressful, expensive and lengthy procedures at a later stage and a life-course blighted by illness. This applies just as much to younger children ( like the seven year old mentioned by Munira in her speech) as it does to older children and young people.
Speaking at the Second Reading of her Bill, Munira Wilson said:
‘Children and young people’s mental health services have always been the Cinderella of Cinderella services in our NHS, so I strongly believe they should be named on the face of the Health and Care Bill if the Government do not accept our Bill today.’
This is a point that we made to Munria at our meeting.
YOU can help the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign to help children today by contacting your MP; asking them to support the Charter and campaign for mental health services for children and young people that are central to all and any future Government legalisation on mental health; not sidelined in pilot schemes and geographically restricted trials as they are today.’
Helen Clark: Director, Child Mental Health Charter Campaign.