Fergus Crow, CEO of Winston's Wish

Winston’s Wish backs recommendations to prioritise preventative mental health support for children and young people

This week (29th June 2023) the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition issued their explorative report into the policy successes and challenges regarding children’s mental health over the past decade.

The report finds that whilst many of the ambitions laid out by the Government to date have been a step in the right direction, they have been continuously criticised for not being ambitious enough in creating the scale of change that is needed. The report concludes that polices implemented to date have not had sufficient impact in ensuring children and young people get the mental health support they need, and makes a series of recommendations to be considered by the Local Government Association, councils, regional bodies and national government to take forward positive and lasting changes for children’s mental health.

Responding to the report, CEO of Winston’s Wish, Fergus Crow, commented:

The report issued by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition makes for stark but perhaps not unexpected reading. With record numbers of young people seeking mental health support than ever before, it is clear that the ambitions set out by government have, whilst well intentioned, not been ambitious enough to create the scale of change needed.

Of the 1.4 million young people who sought mental health support from the NHS last year, at least 1 in 20 are believed to have been bereaved of one or both parents by the age of 16. Having supported bereaved children and young people for over 30 years, we know all too well that unresolved grief can lead to an increased likelihood of developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, and can have a significant impact on school, work and relationships. For those with existing mental health conditions, the addition of grief can be overwhelming.

These young people don’t and shouldn’t have to deal with this on their own.

At Winston’s Wish we support the report’s recommendations to restore the Public Health Grant to pre-2015 levels, in particular to be accompanied with the development of a Prevention Transformation Fund in order to ensure a specific focus on preventative support. Early and timely support, in particular for bereaved young people, has the power to transform lives for the better.

Fergus Crow, CEO at Winston’s Wish

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