Damage to children’s mental health caused by the coronavirus crisis could last for years without a “rocket boost in funding” for children’s mental health services, the Children’s Commissioner for England has warned.
Anne Longfield says there have been improvements to services but that hundreds of thousands of children are still not getting the help they need.
In her annual report into the state of children’s mental health services in England, she calls for a major recovery programme including an NHS-funded counsellor in every school and online wellbeing support.
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “The pandemic has exacerbated existing mental health problems, particularly for children living in families with lower incomes and whose parents may be experiencing financial difficulties.
“Local councils have a vital role in helping children have mentally healthy childhoods and mental health needs to be at the heart of a holistic approach to overall health and wellbeing.
“Supporting children early on to reduce the need for clinical interventions means more can receive help when they need it, rather than waiting until they are unwell.
“It is vital that effective and evidence-based mental health and wellbeing services and statutory mental health services for children are able to meet existing, new and unmet demand that has built up during the pandemic.”