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8th December 2019 - THE GENERAL ELECTION AND THE NEW GOVERNMENT

On Friday 13th December we will have a new Government. Whichever party forms it, the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign is ready to start Phase Two of the campaign.

This General Election has been called ‘The Brexit Election’ but it has served to show us exactly where each party stands on children’s mental health. The outcome of the vote on 12th December will therefore determine the immediate direction of our new campaigning.

Below are listed various outcomes.

Please re-read our commentary on the various Manifesto offerings of the political parties (to be found elsewhere on this site).

Majority Conservative Government.

The Conservative Party’s brief Manifesto reference to mental health does not include the needs of children. However, some Conservative Candidates have:

  • Campaigned to advance the aims of the Charter via Parliamentary Questions/contributions to debates/ letters to consecutive Prime Ministers and others
  • Discussed the urgent matter of children’s mental health with Charter Campaign representatives at meetings in their constituencies and at Westminster
  • Supported our Jubilee Room Reception in the House of Commons
  • Signed Early Day Motion 2285 (see the site)
  • Signed the General Election Candidate Charter Pledge

We will now campaign vigorously to ensure that the Government conducts the widest possible Public Consultation on the Independent Wessely Review of the Green Paper on Mental Health (2017) at the earliest possible opportunity. We will be encouraging ALL registrants to respond to this Consultation and campaign for the Conservative Government to adopt and promote the Child Mental Health Charter.

Minority Conservative Government supported by another political party.

The DUP Manifesto failed to mention mental health and no other party to date has been suggested as a potential partner for a Minority Conservative Government. Our strategy for a Majority Conservative Government would apply.

Majority Labour Government

The Labour Party has produced the most comprehensive plans for children’s mental health services of all the parties during this General Election campaign; including our own central demand for the introduction of a  new Mental Health Act as advocated by the Wessely Review. If a Majority Labour Government is elected, the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign will: 

  • Seek urgent meetings with MPs/Ministers to obtain commitments about the timetable for the introduction of a new Mental Health Bill. We do not want this groundbreaking legislative opportunity to be delayed or (at the very worst) discarded
  • Seek the assistance of MPs in using all parliamentary methods of persuasion to ensure that a new Bill has the needs of children at its heart; underpinned by the  Six Principles in the Child Mental Health Charter
Minority Labour Government supported by one or more other parties
The Liberal Democrat Party and the Green Party Manifestos included significant mention of children’s mental health and proposals to improve provision. The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign considers that these policies (and specific commitments from the Labour Party) can be improved but provide an encouraging starting point. However, the Scottish National Party (the party most likely to enter an electoral agreement with Labour) has made no mention of mental health in its Manifesto.
Following the election of a Minority Labour Government, the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign would: 
  • Seek urgent meetings at Westminster with MPs from all the smaller parties in support of the new Government to discuss their support for a new Mental Health Act with the needs of children at its heart
  • Seek to discuss the specific mental health needs of children with all the political partners of the new Government; encouraging them to build upon their specific Manifesto pledges and ensure that the Six Charter Principles are central priorities for any new Bill
What Registrants should do following the election of a new Government on 13th December.

This is a crucial time for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign and any delay could be damaging. Please lose NO time in: 

  • Finding out the name and contact details of your new MP
  • Arranging an early appointment to meet them at their constituency office
  • Asking them to sign our MP Child Mental Health Charter Pledge (watch this space!)
  • Approaching your re-elected MP to congratulate them if they have previously supported the campaign/signed the Candidate Pledge. Arrange an early appointment to discuss how they will continue to work in support of the Charter both in their constituency and at Westminster
  • Contacting Monika, Jeff and Campaign Spokesperson, Helen Clark (helenrclark@ntlworld.com) to tell us about MP responses…. whatever they may be.
  • Remembering – ANY information you can send us will be important, whether it is good news or not.  To campaign effectively, we need to compile a profile of every MP so that we know where their individual interests lie and if they are likely to help us. The early days of a new Government must NOT be wasted!

Thank you again for all that you have done and continue to do to help the campaign.

After December 12th, we must act swiftly to promote the Charter and in doing so, protect all children, their families and those who care for them  and work professionally with them.

Phase Two is about to begin!

1st December 2019 - FUNDING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR CHILDREN HAS LASTING BENEFITS FOR US ALL.

The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign fights to achieve the very best mental health services for children.

Readers of this site can see just how much importance the different political parties give to mental health as shown by their Manifestos and in other presentations. They can then decide which party is currently making the best mental health offer to children, their families and those who work professionally with them.

What is certain is that investing NOW in children’s mental health will have positive effects, well beyond those appertaining to an individual child and their family. How policy-makers fund and establish mental health services NOW for children can contribute to a happier, healthier and safer society that will benefit everybody.

On 29th November at London Bridge, this country was subjected to a horrific terrorist attack, in the heart of our community and striking against the safety and security of us all.

The Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn today addressed this atrocity in a major speech in York. These are some of the things that he said:

‘At times like this we all feel hurt by this appalling crime.

When we learn of the distress of others we cannot help but share a fraction of their pain.

It is our duty to look calmly and seriously at what we need to do to give people real security.

Our public services are the glue that binds society together.

Community policing, the probation service, mental health … all play a vital part….when those public services are cut back, as they have been during the past decade, they leave behind gaps.

That can lead to missed chances to intervene in the lives of  people who  go on to commit inexcusable acts, whether it’s during their childhood, their first brush with the law,  their first conviction……you can’t keep people safe on the cheap.

Real security doesn’t only come from strong laws and intelligence; it comes also from effective public services that have the funding they need.’

In its Manifesto for the 2019 General Election, The Labour Patry has promised to introduce a new Mental Health Act to replace the outdated 1983 legislation and you can read (www.childmentalhealthcharter.com) about their wider policies for children’s mental health services.

The cost of NOT investing in mental health may endanger the security of us all as Jeremy Corbyn has said today.

If you have NOT contacted your candidates for the General Election to ask them to sign our Candidate Charter Pledge, do that today!

Tell them that supporting our Child Mental Health Charter Campaign and fighting for it at Westminster means standing up for the safety and security of us all.

The Election is on 12th December – less than a fortnight away.

IF YOU ONLY DO ONE THING IN THE NEXT TWELVE DAYS ----- PLEASE MAKE IT THIS.

And don’t forget!  Let us know how you get on by emailing helenrclark@ntlworld.com

Thank you: Helen Clark, Spokesperson for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign

 25th November, 2019CONSERVATIVE PARTY MANIFESTO: MENTAL HEALTH

The Conservative Party launched their Manifesto for the 12th December 2019 General Election on Sunday, 24th November.

This is what the Manifesto said about mental health:

‘We will treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health. We will legislate so that patients suffering from mental health conditions, including anxiety or depression, have greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve.’

Page 11) 41 words.

Responding on behalf of the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign, Spokesperson Helen Clark said:

‘Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Manifesto for the Conservative Party has disappointed campaigners over an entire range of policies and many have already made their objections heard. More money has been allocated to repair potholes than has been made available in total for childcare provision.

The Conservative slogan for the General Election is:

‘Let’s Get Brexit Done.’

This explains why so many issues are absent or have merited cursory treatment. However, the failure to mention the mental health needs of children and the  mere 41 words allocated to the entire subject of mental health ( when it has assumed increased prominence in the Manifestos of the other major parties) makes the Conservative Party seriously out of step with the needs of our wider society.

The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign will re-double efforts to work constructively with all Conservative MPs after December 12th whether or not they are then members of the party of Government or Opposition. The need to do this HAS NEVER BEEN GREATER.

The 1983 Mental Health Act is completely obsolete.

The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign will work with MPs of ALL parties to bring in a new Mental Health Act (as recommended by the Independent Wessely Review) that puts children’s needs at its heart  underpinned by the  essential Six Principles in our Child Mental Health Charter.

25th November 2019 - THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY MANIFESTO: BRIEFING FOR REGISTRANTS

The Conservative Party Manifesto for the General Election of 12th December 2019 devotes 41 words to the entire topic of mental health and does not mention the needs of children at all.

You can read the section by accessing our site on www.childmentalhealthcharter.com.

It is therefore extremely important for Registrants to make contact with their Conservative Candidates during this General Election period and THERE IS NO TIME TO WASTE.

Please now read the ‘Candidate Contact’ guide provided earlier in this briefing. Much of what is said will also apply to your approaches to Conservative Candidates. However, please bear in mind the following additional points:

  • Registrants (especially those who have already been active in the Charter Campaign and received very positive responses from Conservative MPs) will be disappointed with the mental health content in the 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto. However, do NOT berate your Conservative Candidate: we must be POSITIVE
  • It is important when presenting the Candidate Pledge and copy of the Charter, to direct the Candidate to our website (www.childmentalhealthcharter.com). Please mention all the excellent work done by Conservative MPs and Ministers giving examples and names. We hope to be able to work with them too if they are elected to Parliament
  • Mention that Nadine Dories: Minister for Mental Health, Patient Care and Suicide Prevention in the Johnson Government said that there would be a Government Consultation on the Wessely Independent Review and ask them to write to the relevant Minister if elected to ascertain when  that will be
  • Helen, Monika and Jeff would like to meet them at Westminster to discuss the Charter Campaign and outline some of the Westminster initiatives that they might take to help children in their constituencies and elsewhere. Let us know if they would agree, in principle, to a meeting
  • Ask them if elected, to contact the Prime Minister as of urgency, calling for a guarantee to introduce a new Mental Health Act with the needs of children at its heart.

Please remember to contact Helen on helenrclark@ntlworld.com for further help in contacting your Conservative Candidate and to give feed back after the meeting.

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your hard work on behalf of children, their families and carers and those who work professionally with them everywhere. 

21st November 2019 - LABOUR COMMITS TO THE INTRODUCTION OF A NEW MENTAL HEALTH ACT

On the 11th November, the Opposition Labour Party announced some of its General Election policies for mental health. The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign gave them a careful welcome:

‘It is certainly most welcome that the Labour Party has chosen to make a very early announcement in this General Election Campaign about its plans for children’s mental health,’ (Helen Clark, Spokesperson for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign, 11th November 2019).

However, we warned:

‘This good start MUST be matched by early legislation, because the very best–intentioned spending plans can easily be changed as circumstances dictate.’  (Helen Clark as above).

Today, the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn unveiled the Labour Party’s Manifesto for the 2019 General Election. In addition to the policies on children’s mental health services announced earlier, the Manifesto states:

‘We will implement in full, the recommendations set out in the independent review of the Mental Health Act.’

The central recommendation of Sir Simon Wessely’s independent review is that there MUST be a new Mental Health Act.

On 6th December 2018, the then Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced her Government’s intention to bring forward a ‘historic’ new Mental Health Bill in accordance with the Wessely review.

However, her successor, Boris Johnson, made no mention of a new Mental Health Bill in his Queen’s Speech of 14th October 2019.  

Responding to the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons, Leader of the Opposition, Mr Corbyn demanded to know WHY the Conservative Government had failed to follow its own 2017 Green Paper on Mental Health with a legislative timetable for a new Mental Health Bill.

The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign therefore wholeheartedly welcomes the Labour Party’s announcement today.

We have campaigned vigorously and tirelessly for a new Mental Health Bill leaving no stone unturned. This is testament to the hard work and achievement of everybody who has supported this important Campaign and lobbied their local MP for support.

But this is only part of the battle!

A new Mental Health Act MUST make the needs of children a top priority and adopt the Six Charter Principles in order to ensure that an Act will be truly child-centred and not a tragic ‘missed opportunity.’

We are now asking Registrants as of urgency to contact their local Labour Party Candidate for this General Election. Please show them the Child Mental Health Charter ( available at www.childmentalhealthcharter.com) and ask them to sign the Candidate Pledge committing them to campaign for the crucial Six Principles if elected to Parliament on 12th December 2019.

Spokesperson for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign, Helen Clark said:

‘ We would like to thank all those Labour MPs in the last Parliament who signed our Early Day Motion 2285  in the House of Commons and campaigned  to ensure that the needs children are enshrined in a new Mental Health Act.

We look forward to working with those who are re-elected on 12th December and with any and all  Labour Party Candidates who will want to support this important Manifesto commitment and also adopt the principles of our Charter so that if and when new Mental Health legislation is introduced,  it is the very best that it can be for children, their families and carers and those who work professionally with them everywhere.’

20th November 2019 - THE GREEN PARTY MANIFESTO AND MENTAL HEALTH

The Green Party’s Manifesto for the December 12th 2019 General Election gives a commitment to repeal the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and abolish the internal market in healthcare. The Green Party would place a duty upon a future Health Secretary ‘to ensure the NHS is properly staffed.’ In addition:

  • The Health and Education services will be more integrated at national and local government levels
  • A concentration on Early Years intervention will include the establishment of parent/infant psychological services
  • Schools will be ‘encouraged to employ suitably trained counsellors’ to whom children can talk in confidence
  • Mental health services will be afforded parity with physical health services
  • ‘Anyone’ who needs the service will be able to access ‘evidence-based’ mental health therapies within 28 days.

Responding to the proposals, Helen Clark, Spokesperson for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign said:

‘Mental health services have traditionally trailed behind provision for physical health and it is good that the Green Party has committed to remove this outrageous disparity.

The emphasis on the Early Years is welcome; as is the pledge to more closely integrate Health and Education services.

However, the Manifesto disregards the vital role of therapists in schools and fails to define what is meant by ‘suitable’ training. The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign states that this MUST be Level 7 postgraduate and that those undergoing training should not be required to bear the entire cost of it themselves.

The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign also advocates ‘practice-based evidence’ (continuous measurements obtained from real life practice) as the very best way in which to form an evidence base for working therapeutically with children.

Finally, we would have liked to see a recommendation for play therapy as the most appropriate method to be used with children; talking therapies and counselling being best suited to interaction with young people needing help.’

If a Green Party Candidate is standing for election in YOUR constituency,  please contact them and ask them to sign the General Election Candidate Pledge ( available at www.childmentalhealthcharter.com). We hope to work with all Candidates who support the Charter if they are elected to Parliament on December 12th.

19th November 2019 - LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PLEDGE ‘AN EXTRA PENNY ON INCOME TAX’ TO BOOST SPENDING ON MENTAL HEALTH

Liberal Democrat NHS spending plans today reveal that £11bn out of the £35bn the party intends to raise by putting an extra penny on income tax will be ring-fenced for mental health provision. 

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Mental Health, Luciana Berger announced that the money would go towards:

  • ‘Child and adolescent mental health services’
  • Expanding the mental health workforce including the return of bursaries for nurses in areas of especially acute shortage (such as mental health)
  • Focusing on ‘young people’ and those who have had a difficult start in life
  • Matching NHS waiting times for mental health conditions with those for physical health ailments
  • Prioritising ‘young people’ so that nobody experiencing anything but  the most severe of mental health conditions will have to travel ‘out of area’ to receive appropriate treatment

Responding to the announcement, Child Mental Health Charter Campaign Spokesperson Helen Clark said:

‘Of course mental health services in England are radically underfunded; this is scandalous and additional ring-fenced money to redress the situation is both urgently needed and most welcome.

However, we trust that today’s announcement is not the Liberal Democrats’ ‘last word’ on mental health service provision in this General Election Campaign.

Extra funding is crucial – but politicians must differentiate between ‘young people/adolescents’ and CHILDREN.  Children’s needs are quite distinct from those of young people and adolescents and must be addressed separately as of right.

Also, mental health services for children are by no means always NHS/hospital – based. Much essential provision is offered in early years and school settings and we need to know that what is going on there is designed to help children in the very best way; crucially ensuring that they are at all times, safe and protected.

Registrants should now contact their local Liberal Democrat Candidate as of urgency; ask them to sign our Candidate Child Mental Health Charter Pledge (accessed at www.childmentalhealthcharter.com) and undertake to campaign for its Six Principles if elected to Parliament on 12th December 2019.

Please tell us how you get on!

This is a unique opportunity to help your candidate understand why the Six Charter Principles must be at the heart of ALL mental health policies for children.

13th November, 2019 - Monika Jephcott CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF PLAY THERAPY UK (PTUK) Interview

‘By Katy Morton,   NurseryWorld’, November 11th 2919 

Monika Jephcott ARE YOU HEARING OF YOUNGER CHILDREN PRESENTING WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS?

According to a 2017 report, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, one in eight (12.8 per cent) of five- to nine-year-olds has a diagnosable mental health disorder. It found rates of mental health disorders increased with age, with 5 per cent of two- to four-year-olds having experienced a disorder, compared with 17 per cent of 17- to 19-year-olds.

HOW DOES PTUK AND MEMBERS SUPPORT THESE CHILDREN?

PTUK recognises children have different needs from those of young people. Children cannot or do not want to talk about their problems. Play therapists help heal them from the traumatic experiences that they have experienced, are stored in the amygdala part of the brain and also cause damage to the hippocampus where learning capability is diminished. In particular, their work is with very young children who can’t verbalise experiences. In play therapy sessions, children choose from a wide range of therapeutic media like puppets, clay, musical instruments, role play, dressing-up, therapeutic story, messy play, creative visualisation and others. The therapists are trained not just to observe or comment but to communicate with the children with the media that has been chosen by the child. For example, if an angry child beats a drum aggressively, the therapist initially plays a drum with the same energy that the child presents. Then by offering support, the child gradually comes to self-regulate and the playing becomes quieter and stops.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE MENTAL HEALTH FIRST-AIDERS IN SCHOOLS?

While mental health first-aiders are useful, there is no practice-based evidence that they are effective. Also, if they are used to refer children, then they must be trained at least to Level 5 (foundation degree level).

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH THE CHILD MENTAL HEALTH CHARTER?

We launched it partly to highlight funding problems and to show that children’s needs are different from those of young people. We did it also to protect children from unsafe and ineffective practice, so that only therapists on a Professional Standards Authority-accredited register should work with the mind of a child. It’s about getting the Government to put more funding into children’s mental health. Children should come first because their minds are our future. Services should be made easily accessible to parents through their child’s school and there needs to be an assurance of joined-up working.

WHAT DO YOU ULTIMATELY HOPE TO ACHIEVE?

The provision of a play therapy service for all children in need. We are continuing our campaign to reform the Mental Health Act of 1983 by putting children at the heart of the reform by getting support of all MPs and ensuring adequate funding. All Nursery World readers can help with this by lobbying their MPs to include this in their party manifesto.

PTUK, a member of the APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhood, launched its Child Mental Health Charter earlier in the year, with the aim of convincing the Government to introduce a Mental Health Bill to support children According to a 2017 report, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, one in eight (12.8 per cent) of five- to nine-year-olds has a diagnosable mental health disorder. It found rates of mental health disorders increased with age, with 5 per cent of two- to four-year-olds having experienced a disorder, compared with 17 per cent of 17- to 19-year-olds.

HOW DOES PTUK AND MEMBERS SUPPORT THESE CHILDREN?

PTUK recognises children have different needs from those of young people. Children cannot or do not want to talk about their problems. Play therapists help heal them from the traumatic experiences that they have experienced, are stored in the amygdala part of the brain and also cause damage to the hippocampus where learning capability is diminished. In particular, their work is with very young children who can’t verbalise experiences. In play therapy sessions, children choose from a wide range of therapeutic media like puppets, clay, musical instruments, role play, dressing-up, therapeutic story, messy play, creative visualisation and others. The therapists are trained not just to observe or comment but to communicate with the children with the media that has been chosen by the child. For example, if an angry child beats a drum aggressively, the therapist initially plays a drum with the same energy that the child presents. Then by offering support, the child gradually comes to self-regulate and the playing becomes quieter and stops.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE MENTAL HEALTH FIRST-AIDERS IN SCHOOLS?

While mental health first-aiders are useful, there is no practice-based evidence that they are effective. Also, if they are used to refer children, then they must be trained at least to Level 5 (foundation degree level).

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH THE CHILD MENTAL HEALTH CHARTER?

We launched it partly to highlight funding problems and to show that children’s needs are different from those of young people. We did it also to protect children from unsafe and ineffective practice, so that only therapists on a Professional Standards Authority-accredited register should work with the mind of a child. It’s about getting the Government to put more funding into children’s mental health. Children should come first because their minds are our future. Services should be made easily accessible to parents through their child’s school and there needs to be an assurance of joined-up working.

WHAT DO YOU ULTIMATELY HOPE TO ACHIEVE?

The provision of a play therapy service for all children in need. We are continuing our campaign to reform the Mental Health Act of 1983 by putting children at the heart of the reform by getting support of all MPs and ensuring adequate funding. All Nursery World readers can help with this by lobbying their MPs to include this in their party manifesto.

PTUK, a member of the APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhood, launched its Child Mental Health Charter earlier in the year, with the aim of convincing the Government to introduce a Mental Health Bill to support children

11th November, 2019 - THE LABOUR PARTY: NEW CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH PLANS 

The Labour Patry has become the FIRST of the political parties during the 2019 General Election Campaign to announce policies on mental health provision for children.

On 11th November, Armistice Day, Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn (who lambasted Boris Johnson’s recent Queen’s Speech for failing to include a Mental Health Bill) pledged that: 

  • £845 Million will fund a ‘Healthy Young Minds’ plan enabling every child to access ‘mental health support’ in school via a qualified mental health counsellor
  • A Labour Government will prioritise early intervention so that ‘one in eight children’ who currently suffer from at least one mental health disorder can be helped
  • Every primary school will have ‘access to qualified experts at least once a week’
  • ‘On-site mental health  professionals’ will be recruited for each of England’s 3,500 secondary schools
  • ‘Mental Health Hubs’ will be established in every local authority to offer direct help to 300,000 more children.

The Labour Party stated that around 95% of teachers believe that they have taught (or are currently teaching) a child suffering from anxiety issues and 60% of teachers believe that at least one child is currently self-harming. 

NHS figures reveal that one in eight individuals in the 5 – 19 age group experienced at least one mental health disorder in 2017 (the most recent set of statistics available)

The mental health charity ‘Mind’ said that the number of child and adolescent mental health service appointments cancelled by the NHS in England soared to 175,000 in the last year, representing an increase of 75%. 

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth promised:

‘The next Labour Government will ensure mental health services are given greater priority than ever.’ 

Jeremy Corbyn stated:

‘We have to start treating mental health as seriously as physical health’ and predicted that a failure to act immediately would result in: 

‘Storing up problems for a whole future generation.’

Helen Clark, Spokesperson for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign responded to the announcement by saying: 

‘It is certainly most welcome that the Labour Party has chosen to make a very early announcement in this General Election Campaign about its plans for children’s mental health.

However, this good start MUST be matched by early legislation, because the very best-intentioned spending plans can easily be changed as circumstances dictate. 

I hope that Registrants will now make it a priority to contact the Labour Party Candidate in their local constituency; ask them to sign the Child Mental Health Charter Candidate Pledge( available at www.childmentalhealthcharter.com) and guarantee to campaign, if elected, for a new Mental Health Act with the needs of children at its heart.

It is above all  essential that a new Mental Health Act, replacing the out-dated 1983 legislation, enshrines the Six Principles in our Child; Mental Health Charter. 

Only then can every child (and all who care for them and work professionally with them) be assured that children’s mental health services protect EVERY child and are the very best that they can possibly be!

We look forward to receiving those reassurances from the Labour Party when its Manifesto is published. 

Meanwhile, we ask the other political parties to reveal THEIR plans for children’s mental health as a matter of urgency.’

8th November 2019

‘Hearty congratulations to PTUK Registrant, Lois Bunn who scored a brilliant success when she visited Robin Walker ( currently seeking re-election as Conservative MP for Worcester). In the last Parliament, Robin served as Under Secretary of State covering Scotland and Northern Ireland. Lois showed him the Child Mental Health Charter Candidate Pledge and asked for his support.

Not only did he agree, Robin Walker also promised to include mention of the Child Mental Health Charter in a speech during his current re-election campaign! Lois found him to be genuinely interested in the campaign, and he requested a further meeting to discuss the issues, if he is successful in being re-elected as MP for Worcester. Robin Walker  is hoping to pursue his interest in education and would like to help us with the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign in that capacity.

Lois’s success shows just what can be achieved by our enthusiastic Registrant supporters.

Please now make an appointment to see YOUR  former MP seeking re-election  -  and if you’d like any more information to help with the meeting,  do let us know!’

OUR CHARTER CAMPAIGN MILESTONES

Since we started our Child Mental Health Charter Campaign we’ve been very busy! On May 16th Sir David Amess MP raised the urgent need for a reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act prioritising the needs of children and young people on the floor of the House of Commons. This is a unique advance for our campaign and we are extremely grateful to Sir David and his team.

PTUK hope that it will inspire our registrants to ‘go the extra mile’ in their efforts to gain support for the Charter from policy-makers. Please contact Monika Jephcott and Jeff Thomas to find out how to do this most effectively. 

But in the meantime, this is what we’ve been up to!

  • Meetings at Westminster with Sir David Amess MP, Steve McCabe MP, Ruth George MP, Tom Brake MP: held by Monika and Jeff, Campaign Spokesperson, Helen Clark, Phil Royal, Kate Day APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood 
  • Future meetings at Westminster scheduled with Julie Cooper MP, Sir Barry Shearman MP: Monika, Jeff and Helen 
  • Registrants have held meetings with some MPs in their constituencies including Michelle Donelan, David Liddington, Heidi Allen
  • Registrant meetings scheduled with MPs Siobhain McDonagh, Sir Mike Penning• Questions tabled for us by George Howarth MP
  • Letter to Mike Hancock (Secretary of State for Health and Social Services) written on our behalf by George Howarth MP
  • Ministerial letter from Jackie Doyle- Price to George Howarth MP, mentioning for the first time, the Government’s intention to ‘reform mental health law, and the Government will develop and bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time allows.’
  • Promise to write to the Secretary of State for Health from Tom Brake MP• Promise to put down Written Questions for us from Ian Austin MP• Promise to apply for an Adjournment Debate on the floor of the House of Commons by Steve McCabe MP
  • Early Day Motion 2285 tabled for us in the House of Commons by Steve McCabe MP. To date 42 MPs from all parties have signed.
  • Has YOUR MP signed this EDM yet? Ask them to sign up NOW and show their constituents that they are supporting children, their families and carers and everyone who works professionally with them

THE QUEEN’S SPEECH: 14th OCTOBER 2019

We have a date for the Queen’s Speech and it is 14th October 2019.

Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for 5 weeks from early September. That means that MPs’ return to Westminster on 3rd September will be for just a few days before Parliament is prorogued.

The surprise announcement has caused dismay and concern from some  politicians from all parties who have suggested that Number 10 has made the move in order to outwit those who are determined to prevent a ‘No deal’ Brexit.

However, for Child Mental Health Charter Campaigners the announcement should represent both a challenge and an opportunity.

The countdown has begun and for Registrants:

  • If you have NOT yet done so, write to book an appointment with your local MP. Ask them to lobby Boris Johnson NOW for the inclusion of a new Mental Health Bill in his Queen’s Speech that puts the needs of children at its centre
  • Ask them to sign EDM 2285 as SOON as they return to Parliament on 3rd September
  • Contact Jeff and Monika. Let them know exactly what contact you have had with your MP to date. We need to know; even if the MPs were uninterested 

14th October is now our TOP PRIORITY. It’s ‘all hands to the plough’ and the countdown starts NOW!

We look forward to hearing from you and watch this space!

25th September 2019 - Parliament RESUMES!

Please note the word ‘resumes’ – it is important!

Parliament has not been ‘recalled’ because, according to the Supreme Court judgement, delivered yesterday by Lady Hale, the prorogation was ILLEGAL.  This means that business continues as usual and instruments such as EDMs which fall when Parliament is prorogued continue as well!

Therefore, our EDM 2285 is back on the Order Paper with its (to date) 54 signatures.  Registrants must now step up their campaigns as of urgency, asking their MPs to sign up and show their commitment to the Child Mental Health Charter and a new Mental Health Act that will put the needs of children first and foremost.

We want that piece of legislation to be announced in the next Queen’s Speech but when will that be?

The Government has not said and probably  does not know – but as far as we are concerned, the pressure is on to get as many signatures as possible to add to the 54 enlightened pioneers who have already placed their faith in the children of this country.

OUR EDM  2285 IS OPEN AGAIN FOR BUSINESS!

THE CHALLENGE TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF SIGNATORIES IS NOW ON!


14th September, 2019 - NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP UP OUR CAMPAIGN!

On 29th October 2019, the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign will be holding a Reception from 4-6pm in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons.

Hosted by Sir David Amess MP, this will be a real campaign landmark; a chance to celebrate how much we have achieved and look forward to all the work we still have to do.  We expect to be joined by many of the MPs from all political parties who have signed EDM 2285; also other distinguished supporters and speakers. This will be an excellent opportunity for CMHC campaign backers to meet and mingle, but as with everything we do – it will be an important WORKING event; not least including the launch of a new and updated Early Day Motion as our campaign enters its second stage.

We have had a fantastic start!

Who would have thought just four months ago, when we launched the Charter, that so many MPs from a full range of political parties would sign the EDM, ask Parliamentary  Questions for us, write to Secretaries of State, Mental Health Ministers and Prime Ministers ( there have been two!) and praise our campaign by name on the floor of the House of Commons?

Monika, Jeff and Helen are incredibly grateful and appreciative of the meetings that we have had with MPs at Westminster ( process ongoing and thanks most recently to Dame Louise Ellman and Holly Lynch) and for all the meetings that Registrants have had with MPs in their local constituencies. This is how we are building a truly national campaign and now we are encouraging other respected organisations with the interests of children at heart to join us. Our priority is for the introduction a new Mental Health Act with the needs of children at its heart. The 1983 Mental Health Act is way out of date and if this had been the case for any other aspect of health policy it would be a national scandal!

Mental health has long been a policy ‘Cinderella’. The needs of children are traditionally the last to be addressed by governments across party political divides. Together this has been a toxic cocktail and the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign aims to halt that trend.

Everybody who is currently watching the national turmoil surrounding Brexit will be confused about how our national political processes will be affected.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, prorogued Parliament only days ago – but now we hear that next week, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom may instruct him to recall it. The Prime Minister has set an unexpected early date of 14th October for a Queen’s Speech when he will unveil a list of proposed Bills for the next Parliamentary session.

But there may be a General Election shortly afterwards and then there will be another Queens’ Speech and possibly even a different Government.

We have NO WAY of knowing what will happen – but one thing is clear.  The 1983 Mental Health Act is not serving the needs of the children of today and therefore, the society of tomorrow. Present and future generations are losing out and Brexit or not, those serious and long-term problems are going to remain unless we continue to put constant pressure one WHATEVER Government we have.

In just four months, Government has moved from verbally stating that mental illness is a ‘burning injustice’ for children to pledging that the 2017 Green Paper will be updated by a White Paper this year; finally that ‘legislation will be introduced this year.’ It is now the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that Boris Johnson or indeed, any future Prime Minister must honour that pledge to children and we will keep on campaigning UNTIL THEY DO.

It is now more important than ever that Registrants continue their excellent work in arranging meetings with their constituency MPs. Those MPs of all parties must be asked to write to the Prime Minister and ask him to update the 1983 Act.

From 29th October onwards, we will have a new, updated campaigning EDM for them to sign – but we should not wait until then. Every day that an MP is in their constituency and away from Westminster is a day when they could be seeing a Registrant and discussing the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign.

The campaign has, to date, given hope to children, their parents and carers and those who work with them professionally. Thank you to everybody for your amazing work so far.

JOIN US NOW ON THE EXCITING SECOND PHASE OF OUR JOURNEY TO MAKE NEW MENTAL HEALTH PROVISION FOR CHILDREN A REALITY.

WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN



2nd September 2019 - WE’RE GETTING THE MESSAGE THROUGH! GOVERNMENT IS LISTENING!

Jeff and Helen were delighted to have an excellent meeting in Westminster with Andrew Rossindell MP during the time of the   Conservative leadership contest.

Andrew was a vigorous supporter of Boris Johnson’s campaign and we thank him very much indeed for discussing the Child Mental Health Charter with us and our  campaign for the inclusion in the next Queens’ Speech of a new Mental Health Bill with the urgent needs of children at its heart.

We are also delighted and very grateful that Andrew has put down a series of Parliamentary Questions for us on this important matter.

A week is a short time in politics and a few weeks is a lifetime!

Now Boris Johnson is Prime Minister and has set a date for the Queen’s Speech of 14th October 2019.

We have asked ALL Registrants to ‘go the extra mile’ in contacting their local MP; asking them to sign EDM 2285 and write to the Prime Minister, making the case for a new  Mental Health Bill that will protect children to be included in the Queen’s Speech.

Now, it is FANTASTIC to see that our message is really getting through!

The Government has posted this great new update on its ‘Education in the media blog.’

‘Mental health is just as important as physical health – and should be treated as such. This government has made mental health a priority. On top of teaching pupils about mental health through the new health education curriculum, we will also be providing guidance to schools on the different tools available to schools to measure pupil wellbeing for different purposes.’

LET’S NOW ‘GO THE EXTRA MILE!’  OUR CAMPAIGN IS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE!

CONTACT YOUR MP BECAUSE THE COUNTDOWN TO THE QUEEN’S SPEECH HAS BEGUN!

CHILDREN NEED YOU TO DO THIS TODAY!


26th August 2019 - WHERE THEY LIVE AFFECTS CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH

The Prime Minister’s visits to European leaders and the G7 summit are leading the news; but shocking facts about the condition of children’s mental health mean that there must be NO RELAXATION in the efforts of each and every one of us to persuade Boris Johnson that a new Mental Health Bill with children’s interests at its heart, must take priority of place in his first Queen’s Speech.

Research published in ‘The Guardian’ on 20th August (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/growing-up-in-air-polluted-areas-linked-to-mental-health-issues) claims that children who spend their childhood in areas with high levels of air pollution are more likely to develop mental illness later in life.

In January, research findings suggested that children living in the more polluted parts of London were more likely to have depression by the age of 18,  but the latest findings added to the worrying picture and linked air pollution to an increased risk of other mental health problems for children including bi-polar disorder and some personality disorders.

At a time when the environment has soared to the pinnacle of the policy agenda, surely this serious link to children’s mental health should be investigated further?

On 21st August, an article in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/20/children-growing-shipping-containers-due-lack-council-housing/) revealed that some children are living in shipping containers because councils do not have sufficient accommodation to house them.

Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield published the shocking figures, showing that almost a quarter of a million children could be without a permanent home in England and are living in shipping containers, B&Bs and office blocks. Her report ‘Bleak Houses: tackling the crisis of family homelessness in England’ estimates that there could be more than 210, 00 homeless children in England.

Responding to the Commissioner,  Almudena Lara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at NSPCC said:

‘These descriptions of poky, dangerous conditions belong in a Dickensian novel, but instead they paint a picture of life in the 21st century for many families.

Homelessness has terrible consequences on a child’s mental and emotional state and families should not have to endure such a punishing way of life.’

Children’s mental health needs in 21st century England are now at crisis point.

There has never been a stronger case for a new Mental Health Act that puts children FIRST.

The House of Commons sits again on 3rd September.

If you have not already asked your own MP to be a Children’s Mental Health Champion,  then there is no time like the present and a child who lives somewhere near to you simply CANNOT wait!

DO IT TODAY - AND DON’T FORGET!  

TELL US HOW YOU GOT ON!  


17th August 2019 - WELCOME TO NADINE DORRIES

Boris Johnson, the new Prime Minister has, as expected, refreshed his Ministerial team. Some have remained in post including the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP. However, Mr Johnson has ‘shuffled the pack’ and Jackie Doyle-Price, formerly Under Secretary of State in the Department of Health and Social Care and Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, has now left the Government.

Ms Doyle Price has been replaced in post by Nadine Dorries; the MP for Mid Bedfordshire since 2005.

Child Mental Health Charter campaigners have seen significant progress in Government thinking about mental health during Ms Doyle Price’s tenure. At the start of our campaign in March 2019, Theresa May’s Government had published a Mental Health Green Paper – and that seemed to be that!

Then we started to make waves!

It is just four months since we began our campaign to secure the inclusion of a new Mental Health Bill (with the needs of children at its heart) in the next Queen’s Speech. In that brief time span, Ms Doyle Price promised first that the Green Paper would be followed by a White Paper – and finally that it was the Government’s firm intention to legislate.

This is record progress in super-quick time, but what will happen with a change of Prime Minister and a new Minister with responsibility for Mental Health?

There are ‘green shoots’ of hope for CMHC campaigners! 

  • Prior to Boris Johnson’s victory in the Conservative leadership election campaign, Helen and Jeff met with key Johnson supporter, Andrew Rossindell MP
  • Mr Johnson then wrote about mental health in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ and stressed the importance of physical activity for children’s mental health and wellbeing

Nadine Dorries, Boris Johnson’s new Under Secretary of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, is somebody who brings definitive career experience to the role.

Prior to her election in 2005, Ms Dorries worked as a nurse in Warrington, Liverpool and Westminster. She then spent a year in Zambia as head of a community school. On her return to the UK, Nadine founded ‘Company Kids’ Ltd’ a supplier of day-care services for the children of working parents.

It is encouraging that the new Minster responsible for taking important decisions about children’s mental health is somebody with relevant professional experience that should be useful as she undertakes her new role.

We look forward to discussing the Child Mental Health Charter with Nadine Dorries and explaining why its Six Principles should be the framework of new Mental Health legislation for children.

We will invite her to our Jubilee Room Reception in the House of Commons on 29th October 2019 and hope that she will join us at that important event for the campaign.        

 

12th August 2019 - LEADING CHILDREN’S CHARITY SAYS THAT THE MENTAL HEALTH OF OVER 1 MILLION CHILDREN COULD BE ENDANGERED BY NHS COMMISSIONING

MPs may be away from their desks, but the crisis in children’s mental health is not on holiday!

According to NSPCC research (9th August):

  • 4 out of 5 of the latest annual mental health plans published by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups are not planning properly for the needs of vulnerable children – who are not even ‘recognised’ in the new plans
  • The new regional NHS partnerships cover much larger geographical areas and children who have experienced the trauma of abuse or neglect are at risk of simply ‘slipping through the net’
  • These children are likelier to develop a range of problems such as PTSD, depression, anxiety and eating disorders

In Cheshire and Merseyside alone, the mental health of 68,000 children is in danger of being simply bypassed

The NSPCC calls for NHS England:

  • To commit to vulnerable children by putting their needs at the heart of its implementation of the NHS ‘Long Term Plan’
  • To provide greater accountability and oversight with more transparency from commissioners about how children’s mental health services are funded and planned
  • To ensure that decisions about what mental health services are provided for children nationwide are based on a detailed assessment of local needs, including specific reference to vulnerable children.

I will be writing to MPs in Cheshire and Merseyside and asking them to commit to supporting the mental health needs of all the children in their constituencies by signing up to our Child Mental Health Charter Campaign.

I hope that it will be possible to arrange to meet some of them in the near future at the House of Commons to discuss the pertinent issues in greater depth.

The CMHC Campaign welcomes the NSPCC’s findings and hopes that the NSPCC agrees with us that it is essential that a new Mental Health Act is included in the next Queen’s Speech that prioritises the needs of children.

If any Registrant has links with the NSPCC locally, now is an ideal time to arrange a visit; tell them about our Charter Campaign and  ask them to sign up to register their support. As always, let us know how you get on!

Remember – we are stronger together!

That can only be good for all children and the people who care for them and work with them. 


11th August, 2019 - HOW MARGINAL IS YOUR MP?

We are well into the short Parliamentary Recess, but politics as we know it has not stopped and time has not stood still – indeed far from it! This Sunday morning, we are swamped by articles from all quarters of the media with predictions of an imminent General Election.

Will Prime Minister Boris Johnson announce his intention to ‘go to the country’ immediately upon MPs’ return to the House of Commons on September 3rd?

Might he wait to win (or lose) a Vote of Confidence and then call a General Election – making sure to pre-empt the ‘Do or Die’ Brexit deadline of 31st October?

Could the Prime Minister even hold a General Election immediately after a ‘Deal or no Deal’ Brexit on 31st October?

Who can say?

However, one thing is certain: the nation is on ‘General Election alert’; the Prime Minister’s spending announcements on the NHS, the police and prisons sound suspiciously like ‘poll sweeteners,’ and by the time the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign holds its reception in the Jubilee Room of the House fo Commons on 29th October 2019, we may in fact, have a new Government!

But whether that is a Conservative Government, led by Boris Johnson that will be responsible for introducing the next Queen’s Speech,  or a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn – or even a Coalition Government led by Johnson, Corbyn or AN Other, our mission remains the same:

A new Mental Health Bill to be included in the next Queen’s Speech (the Government’s traditional method of setting out its forthcoming programme of work) that will put the interests children at its heart

This is what we are working to achieve, Recess or no Recess and regardless of the political persuasion of the UK Government.

When a General Election is called, the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign will be sending a letter to every MP who currently represents a marginal constituency (a seat held by the incumbent with a majority of 5,000 or below).

We will be asking them:

  • To sign up to the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign and its Six Guiding Principles
  • To pledge to campaign for a new Mental Health Act to be introduced at the first possible opportunity that will put the interests of all children at its heart.

There are 51 MPs already who will not be receiving a letter from us at such a busy time!

This is because THEY HAVE ALREADY SIGNED EDM 2285!

If you have not yet contacted your own constituency MP to ask them to sign this important Motion, please do so as an absolute TOP PRIORITY this August.

The CMHC Campaign will be very grateful to you – but more importantly, so will children everywhere; their families and carers and everybody who works professionally with children (regardless of where those children live, or what their economic circumstances may be) in any way whatsoever.  

We’ll be contacting you soon with further news.

AND REMEMBER:

Don’t forget to tell Jeff and Monika about all the responses that you are getting (whatever they are) as you help us by spreading the great news about the CMHC Campaign!


25th July, 2019 - MPs may be about to pack their bags and head for sunny climes (or their constituencies; in the present heat wave it amounts to the same thing) but MPs who support the Child Mental Health Charter are still at their desks and performing a public service!

I am delighted to be able to report that, less than 24 HOURS SINCE BORIS JOHNSON BECAME PRIME MINISTER, Sir David Amess MP has written to him on our behalf, asking the new PM to guarantee that he will include a new Mental Health Bill, prioritising the needs of children in his first Queen’s Speech!

WOW!!!!

On behalf of the CMHC campaign, I would like to thank Sir David and all his hard-working staff for everything that they have done and continue to do to help all those children who struggle in the UK every day with mental health problems spanning all levels and degrees of severity that are just not being met.

If Sir David can go that extra mile, so can we all!

I hope that Sir David’s exemplary enthusiasm and commitment will inspire us all to do that little bit more to make the campaign succeed today and every day!


25th July, 2019 - New Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has appointed his Cabinet. For CMHC campaigners, the main point is that Matt Hancock remains in his post as Health Secretary.

We are most grateful to MPs George Howarth, Sir David Amess and Tom Brake who have written directly to Mr Hancock; alerting him to our campaign and above all, the need for a new Mental Health Act, prioritising the needs of children to be included in the next Queen’s Speech.

When our helpful MP campaigners first started writing to Mr Hancock, Theresa May was the Prime Minister. She had already issued a Green Paper on Mental Health, but the indications were that in effect, the much needed reform would be ‘this year – next year – sometime –NEVER!’ to quote a well-worn ditty.

Well – we weren’t having that! 

Our determined  and energetic campaign saw Mrs May (and her Health Secretary, Matt Hancock) moving significantly from what was a ‘Green Paper red traffic light’ to a pledge to publish a White Paper before the end of 2019 and a firm promise to legislate to replace the outdated 1983 Mental Health Act.

During the Conservative leadership election, Jeff, Helen and Monika were fortunate to secure a meeting with key Johnson supporter and Romford MP, Andrew Rossindell.

No less than three days later, Mr Johnson wrote about mental health in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ and highlighted the importance of physical activity in preserving the good mental health and wellbeing of children.

Now, with Matt Hancock still in post as his Health Secretary, we hope to make further progress;  building upon what we have already told this Minister, instead of starting from scratch with somebody who is both new to the post and the issue.

We hope that our keen MP supporters will redouble their efforts and sharpen their pens again. I think Matt Hancock needs to receive some more letters in support of the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign!

Today, MPs sit at Westminster for the last time before a short recess.

The House re-opens for business on 3rd September; closing again for the short party political conference season. This means that many MPs will be in their constituencies and so I urge Registrants to step up their efforts to make contact with them.  We want them to sign EDM 2285 as a top priority. So far, 51 from all parties have done so but we need more!

Thank you also to Halifax MP, Holly Lynch who will meet Helen, Monika and Jeff at Westminster in the autumn.

If your MP has been helpful, please write to your local newspaper, and send us a link to the published article.

Above all, we will only succeed with a ‘grassroots’ constituency-based campaign as well as one necessarily benefitting from well-targeted Westminster activity.

We’re in it to win it – for children, their families and those who work for and with them.

 

23rd July, 2019 - Our grateful thanks today to Janet Daby MP for becoming the 50th MP to sign our EDM! This is a milestone – we now need another 50 signatures so that we will become a contender for a live debate on the floor of the House of Commons!

Thank you to all the MPs who have signed the EDM – and if you have not contacted your local MP as yet and asked them to sign, now is the time to do it!  Don’t forget to contact Monika and Jeff to let them know how you get on.

Helen was delighted to meet Janet at the House of Commons today and it is great to know that she will be using her considerable experience to help with the campaign.  

Tomorrow, Boris Johnson will take over as Prime Minister from Theresa May. He made some welcome references to mental health in his successful election campaign and now we really do need him to commit to including a Mental Health  Bill that prioritises the needs of children in his first Queen’s Speech.

We must make sure that children’s mental health is at the very top of his in-tray.

Help us to create another milestone by contacting your MP today!

 

22nd July, 2019 - CHILD MENTAL HEALTH CHARTER SUPPORTER ELECTED AS LIB DEM LEADER!  

The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign warmly extends its congratulations to Jo Swinson MP, who was elected today as the first ever woman leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.

We are especially delighted because Jo is one of those excellent and dedicated MPs from all parties who have signed Early Day Motion 2285.

Now our campaign has a party Leader as one of its registered supporters and this is wonderful news as we step up our campaign for a new Mental Health Act, prioritising the needs of children to be included in the next Queen’s Speech.

This is now a great time for every Registrant to redouble their valiant efforts to secure appointments with their local MPs to discuss our Child Mental Health Charter and the six essential Principles at its heart.

Jo’s election is great news and we congratulate her. 

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jo and ALL our ‘Charter MPs’ for their ongoing and valuable support.


16 July, 2019 - BORIS JOHNSON SPEAKS OUT: DAILY TELEGRAPH 16th JULY 2019

‘Tackling any sort of decline in young people’s overall well-being will be a key pillar in my programme for government….. 

I can also clarify that any government I lead will seek to reduce childhood obesity and increase the amount of physical activities our children are exposed to. The health and wellbeing of the next generation of young people is a top priority for me…..

We have a responsibility to do all we can to facilitate and encourage healthy participation and continual engagement in sport. I am also aware that the mental health of our children …. is intrinsically tied to the positive link between participation and general wellbeing.’ 

We hope that Mr Johnson will build upon these observations, supported by the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign  and the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood and will include a new Mental Health Bill,  prioritising the needs of children in his first Queen’s Speech if he becomes Prime Minister.

Reforming the woefully out-dated 1983 Act would indeed be a groundbreaking piece of domestic legislation. 

Helen Clark: APPG Lead Author and Spokesperson for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign.


11th July, 2019 - We are delighted to report that David Amess MP who has been so helpful to our campaign has agreed to write to the new Prime Minister about the importance of including  Mental Health legislation (with the needs of children as outlined by our Charter Principles) in his first Queen’s Speech.

Jeff and Helen had an excellent meeting at Westminster with Andrew Rossindell MP and his team. Andrew agreed to help the campaign in a variety of ways and to impress upon the new Prime Minister (when appointed) the urgent need for a new Mental Health Act that fully serves the needs of 21st century children and their families.

Jeff explained that a welcome message would be an economic one! Our proposals would represent a good use of existing budgets and projections rather than simply ‘throwing money’ at a problem and hoping for the best. This might be a persuasive argument for Registrants to adopt when discussing the campaign with their local MPs.   


6th July, 2019 - Tom Brake has received a reply from Health Minister, Jackie Doyle Price in response to his letter written at our request.

And progress has now been made!

Ms Doyle-Price now states that the Government will be issuing a White Paper on Mental Health and this is extremely important as White Papers are used by Governments as public expressions of a firm intent to legislate.

Before we began our campaign, there was no guarantee of this at all – and indeed, we were told ‘off the record’ that the 2017 Green Paper would be all that the Government would be issuing on the matter of mental health. Green Papers have no official status and there is no obligation upon Government to implement their recommendations whatsoever.

Ms Doyle-Price also heralds an Autumn Awareness Campaign on Mental Health with some emphasis on the needs of babies, children and parents.

However, Mrs May will be out of 10 Downing Street in less than a month. It is now essential that we all redouble our efforts to encourage MPs to put pressure on the new Prime Minster to carry out Mrs May’s pledge to legislate.

If you have not made an appointment to see your local MP, please now make it a top priority. Do let Jeff, Monika and the campaign website team how you get on and if you need any help and advice we are here to help.

We are of course, most grateful to Tom for all his assistance, interest and enthusiasm.

It is very much appreciated as always.


1st July, 2019 - Our ground-breaking Child Mental Health Charter Campaign has NEVER been more timely or important.

Ahead of the Local Government Association’s Annual Conference in Bournemouth this week, the LGA have announced that:

  • Social Services are seeing more than 560 cases of child mental health disorders every day – an increase of more than 50% in just 4 years
  • Council leaders are calling for the Government to give a bumper financial boost to the funding of Children’s Services in the Spending Review
  • Children’s Services face a £3.1billion funding gap by 2025
  • Since 2010, Councils have seen an 84% increase in the number of children on child protection plans to keep them safe from harm

The LGA is today warning of ‘A children’s mental health crisis’ because Councils simply do not have the money to fund these vital services.

If Registrants have not yet arranged an appointment to see their local MP, NOW is the time to do it! 

This is vital in respect of all MPs,  but especially if the MP is a Conservative. He or she must be asked to tell Conservative leadership candidates, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt that children cannot wait. They must ask them to guarantee that under their tenure as Prime Minister, they will pledge to bring in a Bill to prioritise children’s mental health services in their very first Queen’s Speech

And remember!

No reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act will be fit for purpose unless the needs of children (as outlined in our Child Metal Health Charter) are right at the heart of any new reform!

Tell us how you get on!


30th June, 2019 - Nationally, news headlines have now been completely captured by the Conservative leadership contest between Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson.

We might have hoped that, with the candidate choice having now narrowed to a straight choice, there would have been the opportunity for a REAL debate on a full range of policies. Sadly, as ‘The Sunday Times’ tells us today, this contest has been reduced to the level of:

‘A hard Brexit bidding war’.

Candidates know only too well that their stewardship of the keys to Number 10 will depend on the votes of around 160,000 Conservative party members in the country. Rightly or wrongly, they are perceived to have judged that Brexit is the only issue that will interest this particular electorate.

NOW IS THE TIME TO PROVE THEM WRONG

The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign now asks all Registrants to write to their MP if they have not yet done so.

It is essential to write to MPs from all political parties, but it is especially important at this time if the local MP is a Conservative.

Ask your Conservative MP:

  • To sign EDM 2285 if they have not already done so
  • To write to Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, asking them to commit to including a Bill to reform the 1983 Mental Health Act in their first Queen’s Speech, if elected as Conservative Leader and therefore, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • To show Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt a copy of the Child Mental Health Charter and to ask them if they will guarantee, that any new Mental Health legislation will prioritise the needs of children
  • To tell Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt that children, their parents and carers and all who work professionally with them, would welcome a statement from them during the leadership campaign, making those guarantees a solemn pledge
  • To ask if the MP will agree to have a photograph taken with the Registrant for publicity purposes, stating that they support the aims of the Charter and will campaign for a new Mental Health Act that is fit for 21st century children. 

Remember – we want to know how you get on!

Contact Monika, Jeff and the team with your feedback and any requests for help that you may have.


24th, June - Helen had an excellent meeting with Barry Sheerman MP at Westminster. Barry’s wealth of experience and breadth of knowledge on matters of child health and wellbeing are highly valued across the political divide in public life; especially through his distinguished Chairing for many years of the Education Select Committee and lately, the Westminster Commission on Autism ( responsible for the definitive report ‘A Spectrum of Obstacles’).

Barry congratulated the CMHC campaign on its notable contribution to the fact that:

  • Child mental health has now climbed to the top of the national policy agenda
  • The outgoing Prime Minister and Government have stated that they will legislate to improve the 1983 Mental Health Act in the interests of children’s mental health services
  • All candidates in the current Conservative leadership campaign have faced tough policy questions in their televised debates on child mental health.

We thank Barry very much indeed for his interest and commitment, and are delighted that he hopes to attend our Jubilee Room Reception on 29th October 2019, encourage other colleagues to sign the EDM and also support the efforts of Steve McCabe MP to obtain a Westminster Hall Debate

We also welcome his advice that: 

  • Registrants continue and step up their excellent efforts to date in engaging the interests of their MPs in the CMHC campaign nationally and locally and urge them to sign the EDM
  • The campaign maintains its inclusive ‘all party’ focus
  • We should aim to convince ALL political parties to put a commitment to legislate to improve child mental health in their General Election Manifestos
  • Early intervention approaches must be enshrined in any new Mental Health legislation – to include maternity provision
  • A National Register of Therapists that we propose in the Principles is vital in order to weed out poor practice and dangerous practice and also for safeguarding purposes
  • It is essential that training is prioritised for people with responsibility for mental health within schools; they cannot discharge these duties safely or effectively otherwise and all training MUST be properly funded and resourced.

11th - 21st June - MPs returned after a week’s short Whitsun Recess. However, they were certainly not inactive as far as our dynamic campaign is concerned! See below for the latest update:

  • Tom Brake MP, following an excellent meeting with Jeff, Monika and Helen, has now written  to Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock MP asking that he press for a reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act (prioritising the needs of children) to be included in the next Queen’s Speech. Matt was a candidate for the Conservative leadership that will be contested by Boris Johnson MP and Jeremy Hunt MP. Subsequently, Tom has promised to write to whoever the new Prime Minister is; requesting the inclusion of the Bill in the next Queens’ Speech. Tom has volunteered to publicise our campaign vis his social media outlets
  • Andrew Rossindell MP who is supporting Boris Johnson for the Conservative leadership has agreed to a meeting : on 11th July  at Westminster
  • Helen will meet Labour MP, Janet Daby on 23rd July at Westminster to ask for her support in the campaign
  • Shadow Communities Minister, Julie Cooper has submitted a Question for Oral Answer in the House of Commons Education Questions Ballot and is tabling some Written Questions for us. Many thanks to Julie for her invaluable ongoing support
  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP who will contest the Conservative leadership head to head with Boris Johnson MP became the first candidate to mention his plans to insist on mental health support for all children to be available in schools. WATCH THIS SPACE!!
  • Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May affirmed that the Government intends to legislate to make good her commitment to correct the ‘burning injustices’ children are faced with in the mental health services
  • The first two Conservative leadership debates (Channel 4 and BBC1) included questions put to all the candidates about the need to radically improve children’s mental health services
  • Minister for Mental Health, Jackie Doyle-Price has promised to fix a meting with us following the intervention of Sir David Amess MP
  • It is now imperative that Registrants ask their local MPs to sign the EDM and to write to both Boris Johnson MP and Jeremy Hunt MP, asking them to guarantee that they will include a reform of the 1983 Mental Act Health Act in their first Queens; Speech (prioritising the needs of children)
  • Helen will meet with Barry Sheerman MP on 24th June at Westminster

12th June - Hearty congratulations to PTUK Registrant, Paula Brown! Paula contacted her local MP, Kerry McCarthy, hoping to interest her in our Child Mental Health Charter Campaign. Paula worked wonders, because Kerry responded by writing in support of the Charter Aims and Objectives to Minister, Jackie Doyle-Price MP.

Now the Minister has repeated her written pledge to George Howarth MP, stating again that the Government will introduce new mental health legislation prioritising the needs of children when parliamentary time allows. She also said that relevant Departmental Officials have agreed to meet with Jeff and Monika very soon to discuss the key issues. 

Well done once again to Paula! We hope that her tremendous success will inspire you all to approach your local MP about the campaign. Don’t forget to tell Jeff and Monika how you get on too!   

11th June - MPs returned today after a week’s short Whitsun Recess. However, they have certainly not been inactive as far as our dynamic campaign is concerned! See below for the latest update at the time of writing:

  • Tom Brake MP, following an excellent meeting with Jeff, Monika and Helen, has now written  to Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock MP asking that he press for a reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act (prioritising the needs of children) to be included in the next Queen’s Speech. Matt is also a candidate for the Conservative leadership so this is a very key ‘win’ for us and huge thanks to Tom who has also volunteered to publicise the Charter Campaign via his social media outlets
  • Andrew Rossindell MP who is supporting Boris Johnson for the Conservative leadership has agreed to a meeting (date to be confirmed)
  • Helen will meet Labour MP, Janet Daby on 23rd July at Westminster to ask for her support for the campaign
  • Shadow Communities Minister, Julie Cooper has submitted a Question for Oral Answer in the House of Commons Education Questions Ballot and is also preparing to table some Written Questions for us. Many thanks to Julie for her invaluable ongoing support
  • Conservative leadership front-runner, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has become the very first candidate to mention his plans to insist on mental health support for all children to be available in schools. Thank you to Jeremy and WATCH THIS SPACE!!
  • Minister for Mental Health, Jackie Doyle-Price has promised to fix a meeting with us following the helpful intervention of Sir David Amess MP

22nd May - Helen Clark, Charter Campaign Spokesperson had a meeting at Westminster with Julie Cooper MP: Shadow Community Health Minister. 

Julie has agreed to submit some Education Questions for Oral Answer for us in the House of Commons. She has also agreed to table Written Education Questions.

Do YOU have an example of great practice? Is the school YOU work with setting a fantastic example for providing great mental health therapeutic services for children and young people? Can others learn from you and the ways in which you are working with your school?

If so, Julie wants to know!

Write up your example and send to Monika and Jeff (mokijep@majemail.com). Then Helen will edit the material and see that Julie receives it. 

  • MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE OBTAINED CONSENT FROM THE SCHOOL FOR ITS NAME TO BE USED BEFORE SUBMITTING ANY EXAMPLES

23rd May - Today the campaign was mentioned ‘in dispatches’ as the phrase goes – or rather, on the floor of the House of Commons! 

We are extremely grateful to Sir David Amess MP for bringing this campaign dynamically to the attention of MPs from ALL political parties when he praised it in the Debate on the Adjournment of the House. 

This is a traditional event that takes place before the House rises for recess and it is an excellent opportunity that is open for individual Members to mention any issue that they think is of great importance to their colleagues.

Sir David chose to mention the excellent work that Play Therapy UK and Jeff and Monika in particular are doing in the interests of children and all who care for them and work with them professionally in this way. 

Now it is more important than ever that all registrants contact their own constituency MP and ask them to follow Sir David’s excellent leadership in actively campaigning for a new Mental Health Act that will make the interests of children a very top priority. Great progress to date. 

Onwards and upwards tomorrow!   

22nd May - Following a meeting with Monika, Jeff and Helen at Westminster, Ruth George MP has agreed to put down some Written Questions for us.

17th May - On the 17th of May our Charter Campaign to achieve the inclusion of a Mental Health Bill prioritising the needs of children and young people in the next Queen’s Speech reached a unique new milestone, when Sir David Amess MP raised the issue for us at Business Questions on the floor of the House of Commons.  

Sir David Amess (Southend West) Con
Will my right hon, Friend find time for a debate on revisiting the Mental Health Act 1983 so that in new legislation we have as an absolute priority supporting young people and children? It is truly shocking that one in 10 young people and children has a mental health issue that lasts through their lives, and we must treat them in a better way than we do at present. 

Andrea Leadsom
My hon. Friend raises an incredibly important matter and it is particularly right that he should do so during mental health awareness week. I am pleased to be able to tell him that we have championed investment in children’s mental health services.  Last year there was an overall 17% increase in funding in real terms, to around £226 million, and spending by clinical commissioning groups has gone up by 33% since 2015-16 to £687 million, but my hon. Friend is absolutely right that more needs to be done, and that is why we have committed to transforming children’s mental health services through the NHS long-term plan.  

This is the very first live mention of the campaign in the House of Commons! 

It is one small, but absolutely vital step and for this, we are incredibly grateful to Sir David and his team at Westminster. One small step – but a tremendous boost for everyone trying to bring about this important life-change for children and young people, their  families and those who work professionally with them. 

Onwards and upwards towards success! And if you haven’t as yet contacted your own MP, we hope this will be your incentive to do so!

16th May - In relationship to moving the charter forward Monika and Jeff on behalf of PTUK saw Tom Brake at the Houses of Parliament. Tom has supported the EDM and has promised to contact more office colleagues to support the EDM motion.

7th May 2019 - Helen, Monika and Jeff met Ruth George MP at Westminster to discuss the campaign. Ruth has agreed to table some Written Questions to Ministers for us. 

Lead Campaign Spokesperson and writer for the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood, Helen Clark is continuing to write to and liaise with parliamentarians, requesting meetings and asking for their assistance in advancing the Charter Campaign.

Our registrants (below) have contacted their MPs with results as listed. If you have nto as yet, contacted your own constituency MP, please do so at the earliest opportunity. Do contact Monika and Jeff for advice as to how to do this effectively and remember – we need you to feed back to us about exactly what was agreed/promised at any meetings that you secure. 

Above all, remember that the campaign is still in its very early stages. We have made a great start – BUT IT IS A START!!!!PTUK will keep you informed about progress every step of the way but do remember – WE need to hear from YOU too!  

Happy campaigning!  

30th April 2019 - Helen Clark, Monika and Jeff met Sir David Amess MP at Westminster. Sir David agreed to ask a Business Question to Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom MP (see the website for the Question and response – a first for the campaign). Sir David also agreed to approach Ministers Nusrat Ghani, Jackie Doyle Price and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock about the issues.

30th April 2019 - Phil Royal and Kate Day form Royal Public Affairs met Monika and Jeff at the PTUK offices, to discuss the structure of the inter-sector campaign and connected dynamic relationships with child mental health service practitioners and professionals. This was followed by a meeting at Westminster with Steve McCabe MP, Chair of the APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhood. He agreed to investigate the possibility of applying for an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on the issues outlined in the Charter

7th March 2019 - Helen Clark and Phil Royal from the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood and Royal Public Affairs met Monika and Jeff at the Offices of PTUK. It was agreed to launch the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign. See the campaign website for our activities undertaken so far: www.childmentalhealthcharter.com 

30th January 2019 - Reception for ‘Children’s Mental Health Beyond the Green Paper, The Role of Practice Based Evidence’House of Commons Terrace Pavilions.

MPs, university academics and other professionals in the sector attended this lively reception together with a number of registrants  to launch the above, widely publicised and well-received Report, sponsored for the All Party Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood by Play Therapy UK. It proved to be an excellent opportunity to discuss the urgent need to address the crisis in children’s mental health services in friendly and convivial surroundings and for attendees to network and share exciting ideas for future campaigning initiatives.

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