All Quiet On Southwark Council’s Child Mental Health Promises

There have been no substantive updates since the policy was announced in 2018, just two months before it is supposed to come into action.

By Linh, 14, and Balu, 16 · September 30, 2019

Southwark Council has yet to enact their plan to achieve their goal for 100% mental healthcare for children and teenagers by 2020, despite 2020 being just over two months away.

In November 2018, The Southwark Health and Wellbeing Board unanimously agreed to a new 100% treatment rate by 2020 for all young people in the borough with a diagnosed mental health condition.

However, Southwark Council admitted in June that just 6 months away from 2020, they are still at the planning stage, and that their “strategy is still being developed“

Pic: Wikimedia Commons / Jwslubbock

What does Southwark Council want to do?

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Adult Care, said, “This council has made a promise to deliver a fairer future for all and this includes recognising that mental health is just as important as physical health. It simply isn’t good enough to say we will only treat some of the children who need mental health services. Everyone who needs support should receive it, and that’s what we, with our health, education and voluntary sector colleagues, have agreed to do.”

Nationally one in 10 children and young people aged 5-16 are estimated to have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder.

The national target is 35%, but Cllr Ali added “Would we accept targets that said only 35 percent of children with a broken arm would receive treatment? It’s time for mental health to be treated in the same way as any other health emergency. I believe we can do better for our young people.”

Have the council provided any further details?

The council declined to comment on the budget allocated to achieving their goal. As of publication, there have been no further updates regarding the strategy.

Why did students cover this story?

Students Lihn, 14, and Balu, 16, from London, said: “This story is important to us because mental health is still not normalised in modern society despite one in four people suffering from mental health disorders in the UK. Not only that, but this scheme and article has the power to affect our livelihoods and our community.”

If you are experiencing difficulties that you think may be related to your mental health, please seek help. Call NHS 111, or click here for support from The Samaritans, or here for support from Mind.