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A new campaign is seeking to galvanise a mass movement for change in children and young people’s mental health.

A recent poll by YoungMinds found that a third of children and young people don’t know where to turn to get help when they feel depressed or anxious, while half of children and young people have been bullied.

The charity says that “young people are growing up in a toxic climate”. It is calling for improvements across a range of issues that young people reported were the biggest problems they face. The top five most important issues to young people were sexual pressures, bullying, school stress, access to counselling and unemployment.

The poll found that one third of children and young people don’t know where to turn to get help when they feel depressed or anxious while half of children and young people have been bullied.

The YoungMinds Vs campaign was launched, at an event at the House of Commons hosted by MP Paul Burstow, to coincide with the charity’s twenty-first birthday. The campaign is being backed by the Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband and singer Frankie Sandford from the Saturdays, who both spoke at the event, along with the Minister in charge of Youth Policy Nick Hurd.

Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns at YoungMinds said we are sitting on a “mental health time-bomb”, with young people experiencing a continuous onslaught of stress at school, bullying, sexual pressures and bleak employment prospects. “Every day we hear about the unprecedented toxic climate children and young people face in a 24/7 online culture where they can never switch off”, she said.

As part of the campaign a young activists’ network is being formed and participants will deliver training to healthcare and childcare professionals and run local mental health task groups. Young people will be given the opportunity to directly influence local structures and influence how mental health services are run. The campaign is also enlisting hundreds of Young Media Champions to lead media and online campaign work.

 

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