08/02/2017 12:16 GMT | Updated 09/02/2018 05:12 GMT

Mentally Ill Children Must Be Supported Instead Of Being Ignored

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Nostalgia can prompt adults to look back at their childhoods through rose-tinted glasses. We often refer to care-free childhoods and forget how tough growing up can be. That mental health issues are the problems of adults, not children.

But during Children's Mental Health Week adults need to realise young people's mental health is one of the biggest issues facing the UK today.

Mental health problems can lead to young people being disruptive, difficult, withdrawn and disturbed, so it's vital they're supported and not ignored, or told off.

Shockingly 45% of children in care have a mental health issue - these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

And half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, with three quarters, (75%) developing by age 18, according to Government reports.

It's crucial children get the support they need quickly so they can recover and go on to live healthy, happy lives.

We want all schools and colleges to ensure pupils have access to counselling onsite and during term time should they need it.

This is why we were keen to submit evidence to the joint inquiry of the health and education select committees into the role of education in children's mental health.

Barnardo's and 24 other children's organisations including The Prince's Trust, Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition, The Children's Society and Place2Be, have jointly written to this inquiry explaining why we think children's wellbeing and mental health must be a priority for the education system.

As well as one-to-one counselling we want the issue of children's mental health to be discussed throughout school, including at assemblies. This will ensure youngsters know it's something they can talk about, as well as allow them to learn and develop self-confidence, a secure understanding of their own wellbeing, and techniques to look after themselves and others.

Teachers also need to know how to talk about it and understand the best ways to help their pupils. This is why we support calls for them to study modules on children's psychological development and mental health when they're training and for this learning to be rolled out as part of a teacher's continuing professional development throughout their career.

We want all schools and colleges to ensure pupils have access to counselling onsite and during term time should they need it.

Barnardo's works with the most vulnerable children, including children in care, young carers, care leavers, victims of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. These children may be at high risk of developing mental health problems, so it is critical schools have measures in place to give them tailored support.

Our experience means we are well placed to help the Government with its pledge to improve children's mental health.

Specialist emotional health and wellbeing services we deliver include counselling, one to one support, child psychotherapy and other therapies. Barnardo's also delivers services that provide training on emotional health and wellbeing for teachers and the universal workforce.

Alongside this, the majority of Barnardo's other services tend to provide some element of emotional health and well-being support for their users.

Children need everyone's help to recover from their mental health issues so they can go on to live healthy, happy lives and the earlier they receive support the better.