NCPS | Westminster Hall Debate - Children's Mental Health Week

The Society welcomes the recent Westminster Hall debate on Children's Mental Health Week 2024. The debate clearly shows the urgent need for early intervention and, as Dr Rosena Allin-Khan puts it, tangible solutions in addressing the challenges that children and young people are facing in accessing emotional and mental health support.

We have long been advocating for early intervention - cutting waiting lists - by better integrating counselling and psychotherapy into public services. We are currently hugely underserving those children whose needs are too complex for low-level interventions, yet do not meet the threshold for CAMHS. That 'missing middle', who are sitting with trauma, abuse, disordered eating, self-harm, grief and bereavement, struggles with friends, family, and peers... They currently have very little opportunity for support, and if they are eligible for it, then they will likely have to wait a long time.

We're asking for greater clarity from the Labour Party regarding their proposal of having a 'mental health professional' in every school. It's so important that we understand what this entails. Research consistently highlights the value of counselling for children and young people; more than that, counsellors are already on the ground are doing the work, often filling the gap between basic mental health support teams and CAMHS services. By failing to ensure that counselling is provided in all schools across the country, we are doing a huge disservice not just to our children, but to those providing low-intensity care that find their services overwhelmed by those needing more support, and to CAMHS practitioners who are also inundated with patients who would have benefitted from earlier intervention.

We're hoping to see a cohesive and clear strategy that recognises the significant role that counsellors and psychotherapists play in supporting our young people's mental health, and commits to ensuring that children and young people have access to the therapist and therapy that will most work for them, when they need it, and where they need it.

For more information about the work we do campaigning for Children and Young People's mental health, please click this link.

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