People are pointing out everything wrong with the Conservative Party tweet on children’s mental health

Two children walking with arms around each other
Emily Apple

Children’s mental health is currently in crisis with more children reporting problems but fewer receiving help.

It was, therefore, somewhat surprising that the Conservative Party took to Twitter to celebrate its achievements during children’s mental health week. But social media users were on hand to point out everything that was wrong with its tweet.

“Improving children’s mental health”

The official Conservative Party Twitter account stated:

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The trials the Conservative Party references are twofold. The government is rolling out mental health awareness in schools alongside classes in mindfulness and breathing techniques.

Both while these initiatives sound okay on paper, they are, as one Twitter user put it, a “sticking plaster”:

And as other social media users pointed out, it’s an “empty initiative” given the state of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS):

A 2018 report from Young Minds found that:

“76% of parents identified a deterioration in their child’s mental health while waiting for CAMHS to support them.”

“85% of parents whose children waited more than six months said their children’s mental health had deteriorated.”

“69% of parents said that neither they nor their children were signposted to other support services while waiting for help from CAMHS.”

Poverty

There is widespread evidence of the links between poverty and poor mental health. The 2014 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey found that:

the prevalence of severe mental health problems was around three times higher among children in the bottom quintile [20%] of family income than among those in the top quintile.

2018 figures show that 4.1 million children are living in poverty. Meanwhile, over 2,000 households with children were living in temporary accommodation – a 64% increase since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

Twitter users were quick to point the links between Conservative Party policy, poverty and mental health:

Empty words

While anything that improves children’s mental health is welcome, this latest trial is nothing but empty words. Children’s mental health services are underfunded with massive waiting lists; the current crisis in schools funding means headteachers having to cut counsellors and support workers. And no amount of mindfulness and deep breathing will cure a hungry belly or replace a roof over someone’s head.

The Conservative Party is responsible for this crisis. And this is something neither us, nor our children will ever forget.

Featured image via Pxhere

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