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“More attention still needs to be paid to the vital importance of building the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people”

We react to the general election campaign as it passes the halfway point.

Reflecting on the general election campaign so far and statistics released last week by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, Mind and YoungMinds highlighting that less than half of young people (43%) say the main political parties running for the next election care about their mental health, Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of Anna Freud, said:

“We're just over halfway through the general election campaign and, having seen the manifestos of the three main political parties and four televised debates, it is clear more attention still needs to be paid to the vital importance of building the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

“There are a number of announcements we welcome from all parties – including more mental health support in schools and communities. However, with specialist services completely overwhelmed, we believe the time has come to think differently by focusing policies and funding upstream to tackle the root causes of mental ill health in true and meaningful partnership with young people.

“This starts with a much more systematic approach to prevention. From building a unified mental health prevention strategy to creating a cross-government taskforce that scrutinises the potential impact of policy on mental health with children and young people, we have outlined detailed steps to create real change for the next generation in our Thinking Differently.

“It is also not yet clear how any of the political parties will ensure young people have a meaningful say in policies that could impact them and their mental health beyond the election. We want the next government to make a commitment that nothing about young people will be decided without them, from the development and design of policies to their implementation and evaluation.”

About Anna Freud

Anna Freud is a mental health charity and we’ve been supporting children and young people for over 70 years.

We listen to and learn from their diverse voices, and integrate this with learnings from our science and practice to develop and deliver mental health care. This holistic approach has world-changing potential – our training, schools support, networks, partnerships and resources equip those who impact children and young people’s lives with the knowledge and skills to support their mental health.

We believe mental wellbeing is the foundation from which children and young people achieve their potential. By continually expanding our understanding and translating it into practice – grounded in science and guided by children and young people – we can ensure they get the right support at the right time.