The Child Mental Health Charter

‘States Parties recognise the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services’:

Article 24, the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child: https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx

On 6th December 2018, Theresa May pledged to reform mental health legislation. The Child Mental Health Charter affirms that mental health and wellbeing is an indivisible part of general health and is the right of every child and calls for new mental health legislation to:

  • Focus on the needs of children. Children’s voices must be heard and their dignity and human rights upheld. Within school, the curriculum must embed within it an understanding of emotional wellbeing, the principles of good mental health and the certainty of therapeutic help for those children who need it
  • Protect children. Any individual who works therapeutically with children must be registered through an independent government-approved agency such as the Professional Authority’s Accredited Register programme or the Health and Care Professions Council. Children are currently insufficiently protected because too many unqualified and unsupervised people are practising
  • Invest in a properly qualified workforce. Level 7 postgraduate training is essential and the main obstacle to a properly trained workforce is the lack of financial support. Accessible, high-quality and recovery-focused mental health services require personnel whose appropriate training is not solely dependent upon their own financial resources. All professionals (including teachers) who work with children must be trained in mental health awareness
  • Ensure policy is informed by the best available and appropriate evidence and adequately funded. Practice-based evidence uses continuous measurements obtained from real life practice and should inform an ‘evidence base’ for working therapeutically with children
  • Focus on the needs of parents and carers. There must be high quality support for parents and carers to help them to better understand and support their child with schools promoted as effective, familiar, accessible and empathetic service delivery channels
  • Make policies work. ‘Joined up working’ would prioritise appropriate data–sharing between all agencies concerned with child welfare. The responsibility for children’s mental health would encompass all relevant Departments in addition to the Department for Health and Social Care.

Download our Press Release here (March 2019)

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