Council urged to spend more on children's mental health in Milton Keynes following tragic death of 12-year-old

A £200,000 investment is urgently needed, say Conservatives

Conservative councillors are calling for an urgent boost to children’s mental health funding in MK.

Their cry comes after the Citizen reported the tragic death of a 12-year-old schoolboy, who reportedly took his own life after being bullied because he was transgender.

You can read the Citizen story here.

More money is needed to help children's mental health in Milton Keynes, say Conservative councillors

The Tories say an additional £200,000 investment is needed in MK to make more facilities available to help troubled young people.

Analysis from the BBC shows there has been a 77% increase in the number of children needing specialist treatment for severe mental health crisis.

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, a national bid to demonstrate the importance of children and young people’s mental health.

Nationally, more than 400,000 under18s were referred to the NHS in England for specialist care for issues such as suicidal thoughts and self-harm between April and October 2021.

Head teachers are also reporting a spike in mental health issues, say the Tories.

According to the British Medical Journal, one of the biggest challenges is that fewer children have been able to access support due to the disruption of services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now the Conservatives are proposing a £200,000 amendment to MK Council’s budget that will provide that urgent and much needed support.

They want to see an increase in school-based mental health counsellors that would help manage growing demand and provide a quicker outlet for children and young people suffering from poor mental health.

Mental health support training for social care teams to focus on children and young people in vulnerable families is another proposal they want to see enacted.

Cllr Alice Jenkins, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “Covid-19 has taken a serious toll on children’s mental health and schools and social care teams are the first place many of them will seek help.

“As a city we need to raise our level of ambition to support children’s mental health.”

Council leader Pete Marland (Labour) said: “At the General Election the Conservatives promised equality in the NHS between physical health and mental health. It hasn’t happened. Schools are also facing cuts and are having to reduce help they provide to tackle this issue. The MK Conservative group are admitting their government has failed on mental health."

He added: " "Now the MK Conservative group are seeking scrappy last minute budget amendments to deal with their national government failures to fund mental health services properly through where they should be provided and we all already pay for - the NHS.

He added: "The good news it’s that the budget already proposes to increase support to help more children access the support they need by providing more additional funding to YiS, the youth counselling service and we continue to work with the CCG, that commissions mental health services, to ensure more NHS funding is allocated in this important area.”