GE2024: UK Youth responds to proposal for mental health professionals in schools

31 May 2024

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UK Youth has welcomed proposals to offer all schoolchildren access to a mental health practitioner or counsellor

Earlier this year, UK Youth joined more than 25 organisations in writing an open letter to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care calling for urgent investment in children’s mental health services

The letter, co-ordinated by children and young people’s mental health charity Place2Be, said: “We must listen to young people and commit to long-term, sustainable investment in school-based support. Young people are counting on us.” 

The Liberal Democrats have said they would increase taxes on social media giants to fund mental health professionals for all England’s state schools, if they win the general election.


Welcoming the latest proposals, Jacob Diggle, UK Youth chief impact officer, said: “Youth workers are standing ready to play their part in making this commitment a success. 

“It is vital young people get the early help they need to thrive, particularly support around mental health. Working together across sectors and services, including youth workers and therapists, is key to supporting young people in these difficult times. 

“The pandemic has exacerbated an existing mental health epidemic among young people – one in five children and young people have a probable mental disorder and three-quarters of children and young people who experience a mental health problem are not getting the help they need. 

“Without action, we are storing up problems for young people, the national economy, and the NHS.” 

Jacob Diggle, UK Youth Chief Impact Officer.
Jacob Diggle, UK Youth chief impact officer.

Highlighting the value of youth work in tackling the mental health crisis affecting young people, Jacob said: “Our Untapped report found youth work already saves the taxpayer £1.7 billion from improved mental health outcomes for young people. 

“Youth work is life-changing, and even lifesaving. Youth workers are an essential resource to help solve the problems facing young people: improving their mental health and wellbeing; enhancing skills and employment prospects; and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.  

Evidence also shows young people who receive youth work become happier, healthier and wealthier adults, compared with those who did not receive support.” 

Election calls

Ahead of the forthcoming General Election, UK Youth is urging all political parties to: 

About UK Youth

UK Youth is a leading charity with a vision that all young people are equipped to thrive and empowered to contribute at every stage of their lives. With an open network of more than 8,000 youth organisations and nation partners; UK Youth reaches more than four million young people across the UK and is focused on unlocking youth work as the catalyst of change that is needed now more than ever. To find out more, visit ukyouth.org 

UK Youth is involved in a range of programmes designed to help young people thrive, such as outdoor learning, physical literacy, social action and employability, including Hatch, a youth employability programme run in partnership with KFC. For more on UK Youth’s programmes, see ukyouth.org/what-we-do/programmes

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