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Prime Minister, Theresa May’s pledge to reform the 1983 Mental Health Act is most welcome, but children’s mental health and wellbeing must be central to any new proposals. The Child Mental Health Charter sets out the essential principles that should underpin a much-needed reform. 

In May 2018, Play Therapy UK (a leading professional organisation in children's mental health) joined the All Party Parliamentary Group on A Fit and Healthy Childhood and contributed alongside experts from other organisations to the report 'Mental Health in Childhood'.  The report identified some shortcomings in the Green Paper ‘Transforming Children's and Young People's Mental Health' and PTUK was delighted to sponsor the APPG’s further report: 'Children's Mental Health beyond the Green Paper,’ launched at Westminster on 30th January 2019. The Child Mental Health Charter embodies the spirit and principle of both reports in an inclusive and practical way.

Two Key Charter Points:

The Charter calls upon the Government to bring forward Mental Health legislation in 2019 following the Prime Minister’s  November 2018 pledge  to reform the 1983 Mental Health Act to correct ‘the burning injustice’ experienced by people with a mental illness. In January 2019, her vision for a new NHS plan affirmed that resources from a total investment of £2.3bn would be allocated to support 350,000 children and young people living with mental health conditions.

The Charter is immediately applicable as a set of de-facto standards for all those working therapeutically with children with the objective of improving the safety and effectiveness of practice. It is scandalous that many unqualified, unregistered persons (in the absence of an adequate clinical supervision system) are currently working with children and using interventions that are both unproven and unsafe. 

This is an opportunity for Parliament and the Government to act now to make a positive difference in the lives of children and their families by addressing a long-neglected but crucial policy area. It is a window of opportunity and a chance for policy-makers to take decisions that will put our children first.

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