1.4 National policy context
The mental health of children and young people has gained significant recognition nationally, with a range policy, strategies, and national guidance. The following are key documents that have shaped the current landscape surrounding children and young people, and their mental health needs.
- Every Child Matters (2003): Outlines a vision for every child to have the chance to fulfil their potential of educational attainment, health and economic prosperity, and reducing substance misuse, teenage pregnancy, abuse and neglect, crime and anti-social behaviour.
- Fair Society, Healthy Lives (2010): Acknowledges the significance of the social determinants of health in driving health inequalities, and stresses the importance of reducing inequalities in the early years of physical, emotional, cognitive, linguistic and social development.
- No Health Without Mental Health (2011): Takes a life course approach to improving the mental health and wellbeing of the population and establishing parity of esteem between physical and mental health services, in terms of availability and accessibility.
- Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2012: Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays (2013): Recommends that regular surveys of child and adolescent mental health are conducted to aid health service planning, and that these should include the under fives in light of the focus of intervention during the early years.
- Closing the Gap: Priorities for Essential Change in Mental Health (2014): Challenges the health and social care community to step-up its efforts around mental health promotion and prevention, including a focus on support during maternity, early years and throughout school.
- Future in Mind (2015): A new report by the Department of Health and NHS England emphasising the need to build resilience, promote good mental health, and prevention and early intervention to safeguard the mental health of children and young people. It sets out key proposals to transform the design and delivery of services for children and young people with mental health needs.