This motion substantially updates and develops party policy. In particular it calls for young people to be able to access CAMS up to the age of 25, additional funding for Childline and to address the funding shortfall for children’s services departments. It builds on existing policy on mental health as set out in the 2017 General Election Manifesto Change Britain’s Future and policy motions NHS at 70 (March 2018), The Crisis in Health and Social Care (2017) and Addressing Underprovision in Mental Health (2012).
Conference notes with concern:
- The Children’s Society’s recent report, which found that in a survey of 11,000 children, one in six self-harmed and that 22% of girls and 9% of boys said they had self-harmed in the last year.
- That nearly 110,000 children aged 14 may have self-harmed across the UK during the same 12-month period, including 76,000 girls and 33,000 boys.
- That almost half of 14-year-olds who said they had been attracted to people of the same gender or both genders said they had self-harmed (46%); four in ten of these children had shown signs of depression (38%) and three in ten had low well-being (30%).
Conference believes that:
- Happiness with family relationships could be the best protection for children because it has the biggest positive influence on children’s overall well-being. Schools can play an important part in children’s well-being.
- Issues like appearance, gender stereotypes and sexuality should be included in schools when teaching about relationships and sex educations.
- Early support for vulnerable children and families in the community can help prevent mental health problems from developing.
Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to:
- Continuing the roll-out of access and waiting time standards for children, young people and adults.
- Guaranteeing that people will not wait more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety and that no young person will wait more than two weeks for treatment when they experience a first episode of psychosis.
- Ensuring that all front-line public service professionals, including in schools and universities, receive better training in mental health.
- Ensuring that LGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding and support.
- Including in SRE teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content.
- Allocating a fair proportion of all public funding for medical research to be focused on research into mental ill-health.
Conference calls for:
- Government to make it a requirement for all secondary schools and colleges to offer access to a counsellor, regularly monitor children’s well-being and ensure mental health support is taken into account as part of school inspections.
- The inclusion in teaching about relationships and sex education of issues like appearance, gender stereotypes and sexuality.
- Counsellors and those in mental health provision to be trained in LGBT+ awareness.
- Government to ensure all young people can access Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services up to the age of 25, rather than 18 or 16.
- Additional funding for Childline to allow it to provide a 24-hour service that can respond to all children and young people calling with mental health issues.
- Government to address the £2bn funding shortfall facing council children’s services departments by 2020.
Applicability: England only, except 5 (lines 41–42) which is Federal.