Barbara Keeley MP, Labour’s spokesperson for Mental Health and Social Care, has said that figures released by the Children’s Society are “alarming”. The figures suggest that nearly one in four 14 year old females and one in ten 14 year old males are self harming.
In a statement Keeley said:
“The perfect storm of social and educational pressures facing young people combined with inadequate services has led to this epidemic, while all the Tory Government offers are half-measures in its Green Paper. Labour will invest more of the mental health budget in children and young people’s services and ring-fence budgets so funding reaches the front line”.
A spokesperson for the Children’s Society said:
It’s vital that children’s well-being is taken more seriously and that much more is done to tackle the root causes of their unhappiness and support their mental health.
“Schools can play an important part in this and that is why we want the Government to make it a requirement for all secondary schools to offer access to a counsellor, regularly monitor children’s well-being and have their mental health provision assessed as part of Ofsted inspections.
Issues like appearance, gender stereotypes and sexuality should be included in the new Relationships and Sex Education curriculum.
However, early support for vulnerable children and families in the community, which can help prevent mental health problems from developing, is also vital, and ministers must urgently address the £2 billion funding shortfall facing council children’s services departments by 2020″.