Councillors Carol Runciman and Keith Orrell have written to Ministers to urge the Government to act now to help young people needing mental health support.
As the wellbeing and mental health of young people is highlighted during Children's Mental Health week 2021, it’s clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting many young people in ways that will risk long-term consequences for their mental health.
Writing to mental health and children’s ministers, councillors call for a clear and coordinated approach to tackling the impact of the pandemic on children and young people. Specifically, Councillors Runciman and Orrell highlight the need for significant additional funding for children’s social care to provide the support children, young people and their families need, at a time when the Council is experiencing an increase in service demand combined with major financial challenges.
They are also calling for comprehensive funding to be made available to increase young people’s and families’ access to mental health support through youth organisations charities, helplines and NHS intervention services. Schools must also be supported to prioritise wellbeing and provide guidance and resources on how to manage mental health issues and the transition back to school, when it is safe for students to return.
Councillor Keith Orrell, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, commented:
“This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week highlights an reminds us all of the incredible work that mental health professionals, school staff and parents have done to respond to the challenges the pandemic has brought. We are proud of the support that York’s schools, charities and Council support services have been able to provide throughout this challenging year.
“The impact that crisis has had on young people’s mental health is a serious challenge facing a whole generation, which must be addressed sooner rather than later. By taking action now, the Government can reduce the impact of the pandemic and make sure that the necessary support will be available to children and young people across York and the country.”
Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, added:
“While voluntary sector providers and Council support service staff have been quick to adapt to the changing landscape – moving support online, and using innovative approaches to safe service delivery - there remain gaps in infrastructure and funding which threaten the long term sustainability of these efforts.
“Government must recognise the significant challenges facing children’s social care which was already under strain prior to the pandemic. Despite the Council’s difficult financial situation, our budget proposals outline a significant investment in social care for York residents. However, without the Government delivering on its promises to overhaul the current social care funding system, significant additional funding for children’s social care, particularly mental health support, will be needed if we are to continue providing the support children, young people and their families need.”