We need to see a transformation in our culture to ensure that seeking counselling, going through a difficult time or dealing with mental illness is not surrounded by secrecy and shame. Prince Harry has taken an extraordinarily positive and powerful first step in fighting the stigma around mental health, showing that openness is a strength and not a weakness.
The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health have both stated that children and young people's mental health is a top priority for this administration. The Coalition Government announced £1.4billion additional funding to improve care in the five years to 2020. So, what progress has been made so far? Our report found that nearly three quarters of CCGs have failed to meet the NHS benchmark for improving services. The benchmark, based on questions about funding, improvement plans and workforce, was a score of 83.3%. Over a third of local NHS organisations scored under 50%.
Whilst the causes of suicide are complex, and individual deaths can rarely be attributed to one particular factor, we do know that the economic circumstances of individuals, communities and wider society is a major influencing factor in the overall rate of suicide.
This week is Children's Mental Health Week and Place2Be are encouraging everyone to 'spread a little kindness' to others. When you next see someone who could benefit from support, spare a moment, and show you care. As one of the children who took part in the survey puts it best: "It would be kind if someone came up to me if I was upset because it would make me feel like a somebody."
You're in a room full of people but you feel totally alone. Your mind is expanding to the point where it feels like it might explode. Your body tries to cool itself down so you start to sweat. Palpitations feel like a drum in your heart and its vibration causes your whole body to shake.
My dad was good at introducing the subject matter of mental health without directly asking me to talk about it. He would speak to me generally about mental health in a way that was inviting but not intrusive, which was massively helpful in encouraging me to open up. Now today we are supporting each other through training for the London Marathon for Heads Together. As we encourage and motivate one another, guide our way through the difficult and hopefully fun times of training we will together cross the finish line once again.
Teachers have a wealth of experience of working with and supporting children. Their ability to provide a trusted, thoughtful listening ear should never be underestimated. There are multiple pressures on teachers' time, but their skills are invaluable in supporting children - especially children with mental health problems.
Jonny Benjamin, the award-winning mental health campaigner, vlogs on what it felt like when he found out he was getting an MBE, his achievements over the last year and what he wants 2017 to bring - including mental health education in schools.
Children and young people's mental health care has been a Cinderella service in the NHS for years, always at the back of the queue for resources and the front of the queue for cuts. Recent cross-party support for this issue is to be welcomed, but it will require sustained effort to transform provision over the next five years, and beyond.
Through our Youth Index young people are saying they need our help, and our volunteers, staff, supporters and partners are all here to answer that need. We'd love you to join us.
I want to see mental health addressed not just in our hospitals, but in our classrooms and communities. I want to see the stigma stripped away so that no-one in this country feels unable to talk about what they're going through or seek help. I want to see a focus on prevention as well as treatment, especially since so many adult mental health problems - which one in four of us will suffer from at any one time - begin in childhood. This is part of a wider approach to tackle the burning injustices we face in society, and to build a stronger, fairer Britain that works for everyone.
Like many 31 year olds living with a mental health condition, the run up to Christmas and indeed the big event itself, for me, is not as magical as I'm lead to believe it should be.
We have opened our doors at the Tavistock and Portman because we wanted to create a platform for the authentic voices of young people and families using services and the clinicians who work with them. There is a growing public demand for children and young people's mental health to be awarded the priority and the investment in needs. Government has made important commitments, but for kids on the edge turning sympathy into action cannot come too quickly.
It is a stark and tragic fact that the biggest cause of death among young men in the UK is now suicide. And in the majority of cases, people who lose their life through suicide have not been in contact with mental health services prior to their death.
It is a great honour to be with you here this evening for these very special Place2Be Awards. Tonight, we are celebrating the truly remarkable work taking place across Place2Be schools in support of children's mental health. Without many of the inspiring people gathered here this evening, countless children would not receive the transformational support in their schools. It is because of so many of you, that in their time of need, children have the help, care and attention that will get them through tough times in their lives.
Every 20 minutes a youngster in this country attempts to take their own life, according to the Samaritans. What will it take for children's mental health to be taken as seriously as their physical health? Physical health education or P.E. is a compulsory part of our school curriculum. Isn't it about time mental health education became a compulsory part of it too?