The Effect of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Children’s mental Health and a New Early Day Motion – helen Clark Writes

In  the December  2019 Queen’s Speech, Boris Johnson announced his intention to reform the 30-year-old 1989 Mental Health Act during the course of this parliament.

This was the first objective of the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign and I want to thank everybody who worked tirelessly to achieve it, including the many individuals and organisations who joined forces with parliamentarians from all political parties to convince a Government that was initially reluctant that they must legislate on this vital issue.   

However, the Prime Minister made no specific mention of the urgent needs of children and unless they are seen to be at the very heart of the new proposals, the life-chances of a generation will be blighted.  

The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought in its wake further dire consequences for children’s mental health; some severe and immediate and some that may last a lifetime.

It is now essential that the Prime Minster announces a timetable for the progress of the promised new Mental Health Bill in Parliament and confirms that it will make the needs of children the top priority.

I am delighted therefore to thank Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Lead Spokesperson for the Scottish National Party on Mental Health, who has tabled an important Early Day Motion at Westminster (see below). I now urge everybody to contact their MP asking them to sign and please email me to let me know their response or to find out more about the Charter Campaign.

BY ACTING NOW YOU WILL TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF MANY CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES. THEY ARE COUNTING ON YOU!

Dr Lisa Cameron’s Early Day motion is on the UK Parliament website. This is what is says:

That this House notes that the mental health consequences of the covid-19 pandemic are immense and will be long-lasting; asserts that existing demand for mental health services is set to increase and agrees with The Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Medical Association that mental health services, already buckling under the level of demand pre-covid-19 pandemic are now facing a potential tsunami of escalation without the resources to cope; further notes that research including the University of Oxford Co-SPACE survey have observed an increase in children’s mental health problems particularly in the years 4 to 10 age range; agrees with Professor Cathy Cresswell, Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford that prioritising the mental health of children throughout the covid-19 pandemic and beyond is critical; notes that the announcement in the Queen’s Speech of December 2019 that the Mental Health Act 1989 will be reformed gave no specific mention of the urgent needs of children; and calls on the Government to commit to an early reform of the Mental Health Act 1989 during this Parliament and to guarantee that policies to prioritise the urgent mental health needs of children will be at the heart of the drafting of that new Bill and on the face of that Bill.

Early Day Motion #685 tabled by Dr Lisa Cameron MP on 7 July 2020

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