The Covid pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone but the lockdown has been particularly hard on children. Being in and out of school has been challenging for their learning but also their wellbeing. Now that schools have broken up for the summer holidays it’s a shame to see playing fields and sports facilities largely empty when they could have been used for safe play and socialising. It underlines again how inadequate the Governments catch up plan is and why it lacks ambition for our young people.
The pandemic has put added strain on mental health services. Typically the waiting time for child and adolescent mental health services is around two years which means too often interventions happen only at an acute or emergency phase. One in six children are believed to be suffering mental health problems and unchecked the effects can be long lasting. Last week I met Mindstars (NE) a community organisation set up in North Shields working with children of primary years, offering classes nad materials to support children and their parents. They are exactly the sort of community based organisation to compliment statutory services offering support before problems get out of hand.
The Health and Care Bill currently before Parliaments unlikely to help taking decisions away from local communities and from primary care which is often the first port of call for worried parents. Mindstars (NE) and others are determined to ensure that local help and support is there in our local community for our local children and families and I wish them well.