Dr Lisa Cameron supports ‘Action for Children’s’ call on the government to prioritise children’s mental health when COVID-19 recovery planning by cementing her support during Children’s Mental Health Week. She aims to galvanise support for children and their families in light of the new ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England’ survey which found a 50% increase in the number of children suffering from mental health issues since the pandemic began.
Dr Cameron’s work on this is already apparent through her numerous written and oral question submitted to the government alongside sponsoring an Early Day Motion on this topic. The importance of this work follows suggestions from the Royal College of Psychiatrists that school closures and other COVID restrictions “threatened a mental health crisis that could plague the current generation of children for years to come”. Along with the latest NHS figures which show the number of children admitted to hospital for mental health reasons overtaking those with medical conditions, Dr Cameron’s concern seems well justified.
Chair of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Dubicka, highlights the significance of school closures on mental health; “Lost are the interactions between teachers and pupils, which are so important in identifying distress and mental illness, 75 per cent of which start in childhood and adolescence.” Helen Clark from the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign further supported this: “One in six children aged 5 to 16 are identified as having a probable mental health disorder; most pronounced among boys between 5 and 10 years old. Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield says that the figures are ‘alarming’ and should: ‘Shock the Government into immediate action to tackle a growing pandemic.’ It is vital that key workers who endure unprecedented professional stress on behalf of society must not have to cope with their children’s distress alone.”
As the Mental Health all-party parliamentary group’s chair, Dr Lisa Cameron has been receiving “concerned emails from parents across the United Kingdom regarding mental health”. As a clinical psychologist herself Dr Cameron has said; “given that children have experienced unprecedented levels of isolation and trauma during this pandemic, the government must ensure a mental health professional is available for parents and children in every school not only, as previously aimed for, a quarter of them. Carrying out a risk assessment of the impact school closures have had on children’s mental health would also shed more light on how exactly we can help.”
If your child is struggling with their mental health, she further encouraged you reach out to YoungMinds free parents’ helpine on 0808 802 5544 or visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/cypmhs-information-for-parents-and-carers/.