Local leadership and accountability for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing services

We want all our children to have bright futures. Key to that is ensuring that they have the emotional resilience and tools to make good choices, overcome challenges and move confidently towards where they want to be in adulthood. The current system cannot deliver that – so how can we ensure that it does?

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We know that at least one in eight children and young people are affected by mental health problems, and the unreported figures are likely to be even higher. By the age of 14, more than half of adults with mental health problems start to experience symptoms, rising to three quarters by 24. This can have a damaging impact on future life chances if not tackled quickly and effectively.

If we fail our young people at these critical times in their life, the consequence for them could be lifelong, influencing educational and work prospects, the likelihood of committing a crime and even how long someone lives. The consequence for society as a whole are severe, as that child grows into an adult with complex needs – costing the state far more.

As leaders, councillors with their partners through health and wellbeing boards, must create a shared vision for their local children’s mental health and wellbeing. By understanding current services and using data and intelligence from professionals and communities, an accountable system can then be developed which will bring this vision to life.