James met with young people and mental health experts from Action for Children recently, as part of Children’s Mental Health Week. Children of all ages can be affected by mental health, and the latest NHS figures show that one in eight 5-19 year olds in England have at least one disorder.
The event in Parliament was an opportunity for James and other MPs to hear from children who have taken part in the Blues Programme, and pledge their support for Action for Children’s efforts to tackle mental health issues in children and young people.
The Blues Programme is a UK-wide initiative targeted at teenage depression, and 76% of those taking part have seen an improvement in their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
James said: “The growing number of mental health challenges facing children and teenagers is a very worrying trend.
“I’ve seen from the work I’ve done on mental health awareness in Halesowen & Rowley Regis, and in my work as a former Chairman of the All Party Group on Mental Health, that intervening early is crucial and we need to do everything we can, not only to help young people struggling with their mental health, but to prevent problems coming about in the first place.
“The work of charities like Action for Children is critical to address the mental health challenges our children face today and to give them the support and foundations they need to thrive in future.”