View from the House: 'One in six young people now have a mental health disorder'

Emily, 9, sits at her desk at home on the first day of home schooling after schools shut on Friday d

Despite being able to do schoolwork remotely, it is the face-to-face contact that children have missed out on the most - Credit: PA Images

We’ve talked a lot about self-isolation over the past year, but less about the impact of being isolated on our mental health.

Last week, I spoke in Parliament about how the mental health of children is worsening having faced the disruption, hardship and heartbreak of this pandemic away from their friends and support networks.

One in six young people now have a mental health disorder – up from one in nine just in 2017 - and the charity Young Minds recently found that two thirds are convinced that the coronavirus crisis will have negative long-term impacts on their mental health.

MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq outside Swiss Cottage Library in London after residents of five multiple-storey...

MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq outside Swiss Cottage Library in London after residents of five multiple-storey towers of the Chalcots Estate in north London were invited to a meeting in the wake of learning their homes are covered in combustible cladding. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA - Credit: PA

Earlier this month I visited a local breakfast club and a primary school, and what struck me the most was how it was the mental health impact of the pandemic that teachers were most worried about. While most have been able to do classes on Zoom and get on with their homework remotely, it is the wellbeing support that can only be delivered properly by teachers and school staff in person that many children have missed out on the most.

Even before the pandemic, accessing mental health services was far too difficult and took far too long. This meant that many young people were unable to access crucial support until it was too late.


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We must turn that around, which requires a laser-like focus on improving access to mental health support, giving schools the resources to provide targeted help directly and joining up children’s services properly.

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