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Mental health leaders urge decision makers to prioritise children and young people's mental health

In a letter published in The Telegraph today, Place2Be and leaders from across the mental health sector call on decision makers to be ambitious and devise a long-term plan for the wellbeing of all of our children and young people. Read the full letter and list of signatories below.

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One in six children in England now has a probable mental health condition. With the impact of the Covid years leading to additional pressures around schooling and exams, along with a cost-of-living crisis, the UK’s next generation are living through some tough times. It is more evident than ever before that we need to prioritise the mental health of our children and young people.

We know that 78% of the children seen by Place2Be’s in-school counsellors last year felt socially anxious. NHS leaders are reporting the highest numbers of children and young people on record needing help for their mental health, but with the right support, we can create resilient young people who are able to cope with life’s challenges.

This Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week, we urge decision-makers to be ambitious and devise a long-term plan for the wellbeing of all of our children and young people. Focusing on earlier intervention will help to relieve pressure on our NHS and contribute positively to the economy.

Support for wellbeing is not optional. It should be at the heart of the education system - and expert mental health support should be embedded in every school. We also need increased support for teachers, school staff and families to create environments at home and school which foster good mental health for everyone.

Catherine Roche, CEO, Place2Be

Dr Adrian James, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Andy Bell, Interim Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health

Brian Dow, Deputy Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness

Chris Martin, CEO, The Mix

David Gregson, Chair, Gregson Family Foundation and #BeeWell

Kathy Roberts, CEO, Association of Mental Health Providers

Lea Milligan, CEO, MQ Mental Health Research

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, The Mental Health Foundation

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness

Matt Whittaker, CEO, Pro Bono Economics

Rosie Tressler, CEO, Student Minds

Sean Duggan, CEO, NHS Confederation Mental Health Network

Paula Ojok, Chief Executive, Helplines Partnership

Poppy Jaman OBE, CEO, MindForward Alliance

Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Mind

Simon Blake, CEO, Mental Health First Aid England

Victoria Hornby, CEO, Mental Health Innovations