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Mental health conditions are increasing worldwide. Around 20% of the world's children and young people have a mental health condition, with suicide being the second leading cause of death amongst 15-29-year-olds. Moreover, the gap between people needing mental health care and those with access to care remains substantial.

During Mental Health Awareness Month 2023, Herts Schools Outreach (HSO) and BEYOND asked children and young people (CYP) across Hertfordshire if they had any concerns about their mental health the wanted to share. The response was overwhelming, 218 letters were received highlighting the struggles of our nation’s CYP. However, HSO and BEYOND recognise that they cannot tackle this mental health crisis alone, we need your help, will you help us get these letters seen by our local MP Dean Russell?

In response, HSO and BEYOND come together to announce a new campaign entitled “Believe in a Better Tomorrow and Beyond” asking MPs to listen to the voices of our nation’s children and young people (CYP) who are increasingly at risk of a mental health crisis due to events/issues such as the pandemic, cost of living crisis, toxic social media landscape, climate catastrophe, and systemic racism.

There are over 1.5 million people currently on a waiting list for our nation’s mental health services. The nation’s already stretched mental health services were exacerbated by the pandemic and we have still not recovered. The Government and MPs must recommit to finding short-term and long-term solutions to this mental health epidemic including funding local mental health organisations to support and unburden services with long waiting lists such as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

The ‘Believe in a Better Tomorrow and Beyond’ campaign calls on policymakers to listen, publicly commit and take action to fulfill their NHS Long Term Plan, Build Back Better, and Levelling Up commitments to ‘improve and widen access to care for children and adults needing mental health support’, ‘promote wellbeing’ and ‘give more people the mental health support they need .

"We need to focus more on prevention. Services such as CAMHS need support from local mental health services like HSO to help at an earlier stage. Early intervention/prevention strategies alleviate burden on the NHS because we tackle the issue before it escalates, and we give CYP the tools to be able to walk into a better tomorrow happier."

The Government, private and voluntary sectors need to work closely together, we cannot work in silos if we are going to address this growing crisis. We need the Government to take action by working with and funding local services to deliver much-needed care."