Children and young people’s mental health

Good mental health is important to everyone in society and councils have a clear role in supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.


Teenage boy crouched in the corner of a room wearing a red jumper and jeans

In July 2020, an NHS survey found mental health problems for children aged five to 16 years have increased to one in six (16 per cent) from one in nine (10.8 per cent) in 2017.

Covid-19 has only exacerbated this, with many of the more vulnerable children and young people in society having been more negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Local authorities have a vital role in helping children have mentally healthy childhoods, and the LGA has long called for greater investment in the services that help children have mentally healthy childhoods and reduce the pressure on the services that treat mental illness in children. 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. There needs to be a shift away from only treating children once they are diagnosed with a mental illness towards helping them and their families cope with challenges before they escalate, wherever this is possible.

Responding during the Covid-19 pandemic

Councils are responding to the increasing need being presented and innovating their services to do so. They and their partners have been quick to embrace digital to connect with people in their communities. Working collaboratively and flexibly with partners has enabled resources to be redeployed, supported new approaches to be delivered rapidly, and has created quicker ways to learn about community experiences.

Read our series of good practice case studies

Innovative ways to support children's mental health

The LGA commissioned the Centre for Mental Health to develop case studies on ‘whole household’ approaches to young people’s mental health. This showcases practical support and tools for councillors to help them to strengthen how the whole council supports the mental wellbeing of young people aged 14 to 25 as part of an all ages and whole household approach to residents’ mental health.

Developing strong partnerships to support mental health

We worked with ISOS Partnership to identify what is contributing to the rise in complexity of mental health needs and what local government and its partners can do to develop an effective offer to support children and young people’s mental health. 

Government briefings

We have responded to a range of Government policies and consultations to represent and amplify the voice of local councils. In our response to the Government Green Paper consultation on ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’, we asked for an expansion of the Mental Health Support Teams in Schools.

We also responded to the Health and Select Committee on Children’s Mental Health.

And prepared a briefing for a debate on children and young people’s mental health

Bright Future CAMHs

In 2018 we developed a series of asks for our mental health services as part of our Bright Futures Campaign

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