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:
📢 We're improving children's mental health support in schools.
👧 Up to 370 schools in one of the largest mental health trials 👦
@DamianHinds: "We are rolling out significant additional resources to schools to improve mental health privision."
— Conservatives (@Conservatives) February 4, 2019
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
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”:
We should be finding out why our young people are finding life so hard, putting a sticking plaster on it is not the answer.
— Jane Jackson (@JaneEjackson) February 4, 2019
And as other social media users pointed out, it’s an “empty initiative” given the state of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS):
⚠ONS figures 03-02-19⚠
🔊 TEENAGE SUICIDES HAVE DOUBLED IN THE LAST 8 YEARS
🔊 FUNDING ANNOUNCED WILL ONLY TOUCH THE NEEDS OF 25%, LEAVING 75% ON THE WAITING LIST
— Donna-Marie (@LibertyHall1916) February 4, 2019
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.”
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:
Your Govt is responsible for many of the problems seen in schools today, is it any wonder with parents at their wits end over finances and keeping a roof over their heads that the children are suffering these problems. That high horse is a donkey . #GTTO
— Geoff Doe #JC4PM2019 (@Surailian) February 4, 2019
— James #JC4PM2019 ✊ #GTTO (@Jaduk99) February 4, 2019
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
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?