At Westminster, Carolyn Harris joined young people and mental health experts from leading charity, Action for Children, to support the parliamentary launch of Build Sound Minds – a campaign to help children and teenagers build good mental and emotional wellbeing.
A third of 15 to 18-year-olds assessed by Action for Children were found to be suffering from mental health issues. Pupils in need of support have been taking part in the Blues Programme, the first ever UK-wide early help intervention for teenage depression.
Ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week (4-10 February), the Swansea East MP has pledged support for the charity’s campaign, which aims to improve children and teenagers’ mental health by providing families with accessible information, tools and tips.
Carolyn Harris MP said:
“The most recent official figures show one in nine children between 5-15 experiencing a mental health disorder. This simply can’t go on.
“Acting early can help stop problems in their tracks and it’s vital we do everything we can, not only to help these young people, but to prevent these problems coming about in the first place.
“That’s why I’m pleased to be supporting Action for Children’s work through Build Sound Minds, and I encourage young people of all ages across Swansea East to look out for their own wellbeing and to seek support early if they’re struggling.”
Julie Bentley, chief executive of Action for Children, said:
“Just like our physical health, our emotional wellbeing needs care and attention. And the first step in doing this is to create a positive conversation about mental health.
“Every day we support children and teenagers who are struggling for a number of reasons. Some are concerned about their futures, many are dealing with the intense pressure of school work and others are experiencing problems at home, all while navigating a complex 24/7 world with constant stimulation from social media.
“It’s no wonder that things can sometimes become too much for young people to handle. But with the backing of MPs like Carolyn, Action for Children can support young people to deal with their feelings from an earlier age, help prevent problems from starting and allow them to bounce back quickly if they do.”
For more information, visit www.buildsoundminds.org.uk
Notes to editors
An epidemiology questionnaire was used to determine the mental health and emotional wellbeing of students based on a series of positive and negative responses. Pupils rated questions in relation to how they had felt within the previous seven days. Students who scored over 20 out of a possible 60 were offered a place on the Blues Programme.
Funded by Royal Mail, the Blues Programme is part of Action for Children’s ‘Build Sound Minds’ campaign which encourages positive conversation and good mental health. The programme is based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy methods and helps young people understand the connection between negative thoughts, actions and feelings over a period of six weeks.
HOW ACTION FOR CHILDREN WORKS:
Action for Children helps disadvantaged children across the UK through intervening early to stop neglect and abuse, fostering and adoption, supporting disabled children, and by campaigning tirelessly to make life better for children and families. With over 550 services the charity improves the lives of more than 300,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers every year. actionforchildren.org.uk