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Mental health leaders call for more investment in school-based mental health support

In a joint letter to Victoria Atkins MP, Secretary of State of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Place2Be and leaders from across the mental health, children's and education sector call for long-term, sustainable investment in school-based support. See the coverage, and read the full letter and list of signatories, below.

Plastic container with 6 pencils inside

Dear Secretary of State,

One in 5 children and young people face a probable mental health condition, a continuing rise. 

A recent YouGov survey found that over 50% of children face barriers from seeking mental health support, despite struggling, because they are embarrassed, fearful or will not turn to someone they do not know.   

Around half of mental health conditions develop by the age of 14, so supporting children early on is vital. Yet only 8% of NHS mental health spending goes on children’s services. The Government’s school-based Mental Health Support Teams will only reach 50% of pupils by 2025. 

Place2Be, alongside other leading organisations, has worked in schools and supported children for decades, providing them with a safe place to be themselves, where they can talk in confidence with a trusted, trained mental health professional. This equips them to manage their emotional challenges and feel connected. They are also more likely to stay in education. 

It is not just children who benefit. School-based mental health support relieves pressure on parents, school staff and the NHS and is proven to be cost-effective.  

This Children’s Mental Health Week we must listen to young people and commit to long-term, sustainable investment in school-based support. Young people are counting on us. 

Catherine Roche, CEO, Place2Be 

Michael Samuel MBE, Chair, Anna Freud  

Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive, Association of Mental Health Providers 

Lynn Perry, CEO, Barnardos  

Dr Souci Frissa, CEO, Black Thrive Global 

Peter Leonard, Chief Executive, The Centre for Emotional Health 

Amy Whitelock Gibbs, Chair, The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition

Jack Reynolds, Chief Executive, Football Beyond Borders 

Julie Muir, Executive Director for Recovery, Forward Trust 

Jacqui Dennaford, Chief Officer, Joe’s Buddy Line 

Rebecca Gray, CEO, Maudsley Charity 

Simon Blake, Chief Executive, Mental Health First Aid England 

Victoria Hornby, CEO, Mental Health Innovations  

Sir Peter Wanless, CEO, NSPCC  

Lea Milligan, CEO, MQ Mental Health Research 

Brian Dow, Chief Executive, Mental Health UK 

Dr Sarah Hughes, CEO, Mind 

Alison Unsted, CEO, MindForward Alliance 

Chris Martin, CEO, The Mix 

Elise Temple, Principal & Director of Education and Skills, Nacro  

Jyles Robillard-Day, CEO, National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society (NCPS) 

Phil Anderson, Strategic Director of External Affairs, National Children's Bureau

Dr Lade Smith CBE, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists 

Marjorie Wallace CBE, Chief Executive, SANE 

Tim Coulson, Chair, Schools Wellbeing Partnership  

Cassie Oakeshott, CEO, UP-Unlocking Potential 

Ndidi Okezie, CEO, UK Youth  

Cassandra Harrison, CEO, Youth Access 

Tom Madders, Director of Communications and Campaigns, YoungMinds

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