This Children鈥檚 Mental Health Week we鈥檙e using our voice to highlight what needs to be done to make a difference in the lives of millions of children who are struggling with their mental health.

Charity Place2Be holds the week every year to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people's mental health. This year it has a theme of and takes place from 5 to 11 February.

This week is needed now more than ever before 鈥 and like many organisations our campaigning for children鈥檚 mental health takes place throughout the year.

Our focus is on ensuring there is greater provision of counselling in schools and within other community settings.

What鈥檚 the situation with children鈥檚 mental health?

One in five children and young people in England aged eight to 25 had a probable mental health issue in 2023, NHS data shows. That鈥檚 up from one in six in 2022.

Our Mindometer survey of our members shows that nearly three out of four (72%) therapists working with children under the age of 18 reported that children鈥檚 mental health has deteriorated compared to last year.

We know that children and young people鈥檚 mental health and wellbeing have been affected by a range of issues, including the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and fears about the world around them.

More young people are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing 鈥 and they鈥檙e finding it harder to access professional support. Waiting lists are growing, while resources and funding are being cut.

We have more than 19,000 members who are trained to work therapeutically with children and young people. They need to be part of the solution to the children鈥檚 mental health crisis.

And this is a crucial year with a General Election on the horizon.

Political parties must make children鈥檚 mental health a priority.

What are we doing?

We鈥檙e writing to all parties in the run up to the General Election explaining how a Government-funded school counselling model could work.

We鈥檙e working in partnership with Citizens UK to produce a joint policy paper that we鈥檒l share with political parties during Children鈥檚 Mental Health Week focusing on funding model options, as well as highlighting ways to increase the workforce capacity.

The Labour Party has already committed to a counsellor in every school. We鈥檝e briefed the Liberal Democrats as they have proposed a bill in Parliament which includes a counsellor in every school.

Alongside Citizens UK, we鈥檝e also secured a commitment in the Green Party鈥檚 manifesto for a counsellor in every school and college.

We鈥檙e already involved in campaigns including the Fund the Hubs campaign with a coalition of charities, that has already seen some success with Government investment in community settings.

Our work extends across the UK, to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too where statutory school counselling is in place. We want to ensure that even if budgets are cut, mental health remains at the forefront of funding. Our collaborative work in Northern Ireland is a key part of this.

Children and young people鈥檚 voices matter

It鈥檚 also important that we listen to what children and young people say about counselling.

Comments from young people that we shared as part of our work in Northern Ireland offer powerful evidence of the difference school counselling makes in children鈥檚 lives.

They include:

鈥淚t was good because it helped get things off my mind鈥

鈥淚 was listened to and it made me feel better.鈥

鈥淣ow I can control my temper鈥

鈥淚 will remember to do my breathing when I feel scared鈥

Share to raise awareness

We鈥檒l be highlighting our calls for action across our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn during Children鈥檚 Mental Health Week using the hashtag #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek.

Please share to help raise awareness of our calls.