Mental Health Education in Schools Debate

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Department: Department for Education

Mental Health Education in Schools

Kevan Jones Excerpts
Monday 6th November 2017

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Westminster Hall

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Department for Education
Catherine McKinnell Portrait Catherine McKinnell
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6 Nov 2017, 4:45 p.m.

I absolutely agree, and that is something I have seen even since I was elected in 2010. When I meet groups of young people, they used to be worried about their local parks—their availability or local vandalism—but now the No. 1 issue that young people raise is stress and anxiety. I will go on to talk about the range of factors involved, such as social media and its impact on young people, which is obviously positive but also has some clear negatives, with warning factors. The level of academic pressure that young people are under from a very young age is a big concern and one that I would like the Government to listen to seriously and address.

Kevan Jones Portrait Mr Kevan Jones (North Durham) (Lab)
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6 Nov 2017, 4:46 p.m.

I support the main thrust of the debate, but education is not the whole issue, although my hon. Friend is making some good points. The scandal that we are facing is about parity of esteem for support in schools—I totally support work on that—as well as the broken child and adolescent mental health services system. I have constituents who, even when they are facing crisis, wait for months or in some cases years to get a diagnosis. This is about not only education in schools but, when young people get into crisis, the scandal of the CAMHS system which, I am sorry to say, is just broken.

Catherine McKinnell Portrait Catherine McKinnell
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6 Nov 2017, 4:47 p.m.

My hon. Friend speaks from great knowledge, experience and passionate campaigning. I agree very much with what he has said. We would not tolerate a child with a broken leg being left untreated for months on end, yet that is the case for far too many of our children and young people who present with mental health issues that clearly need professional attention. Such is the concern about the situation in my local area that the newly established community-led campaigning organisation Tyne and Wear Citizens has decided to hold an inquiry into the issue in the new year, very much based on feedback from groups of young people who have raised it as their key concern. I look forward to taking part in that inquiry in the months to come.