30/08/19 – Decline in playgrounds linked to poor mental health. Helen Clark writes . . .

Children’s poor mental health has been linked to a decline in playgrounds, according to a recent report.


The API (Association for Play Industries) is a longstanding member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on A Fit and Healthy Childhood

The APPG has published a groundbreaking report on ‘Play’ to which the API were valued contributors.

Today, the API and Mumsnet (the biggest website for parents) have published devastating findings. Parents surveyed believe that the lack of outdoor play facilities and closure of playgrounds have contributed to the crisis in children’s mental health

Over a quarter of parents surveyed (whose children suffer with poor mental health) said that a lack of outdoor play facilities in their area had contributed to the problems.

An increased reliance on indoor screens and digital culture has been the result and there are serious concerns about the mental health risks to children of lengthy, unregulated screen exposure.

API Chair, Mark Hardy said:

‘Free, outdoor play is absolutely crucial to normal development. We are in danger of leaving entire communities without anywhere for children to play.

Couple this with the dominance of digital culture and the strong inducement it creates for children to stay indoors – inactive and alone for hours – children are facing a crisis with dire consequences for their mental and physical health.’

It is now even MORE essential that we all fight for a Mental Health Bill that puts the needs of children at its heart to be included in the next Queen’s Speech – scheduled by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson,  for 14th October 2019.

What Registrants can do:

  • Contact your MP. Tell them to write to Boris Johnson, asking him to MAKE HISTORY by including the first Mental Health Bill in a Queen’s Speech since 1983
  • Ask them to sign EDM 2285
  • Make sure that they insist that the needs of children are placed at the heart of a Bill – underpinned by our practical SIX CHARTER PRINCIPLES
  • Contact your own friends in Mumsnet and the API. Tell them about the Charter and ask them to sign up to the Principles. Ask them to request that API and Mumsnet affiliate to our campaign as ORGANISATIONS as well as on an individual basis.

To the API and Mumsnet, the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign says:

‘Welcome! Join us to fight for mental health services NOW that are fit for today’s children and tomorrow’s adult society!

 Read all about us on our campaign site and sign our Charter: www.childmentalhealthchartercampaign

Join us today because TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER!’

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