Mental health support for children ‘lacks ambition’, BBC article – iheart’s response

    by Terry Rubenstein

    The BBC recently published an article titled Mental health support for children ‘lacks ambition’ which covered the government plans for mental health support teams to be in a third of schools in England by 2022-23, saying that this plan lacks ambition and needs to be stepped up.

    “Children’s wellbeing expert Lord Layard urged the Commons education committee to push for a national rollout before the end of this Parliament.”

    Upon reading this article and Lord Layard’s comments, I wrote this response:

    Dear Lord Richard Layard, thank you for caring for our children. We can see they matter to you and you, like us, are demoralised. Well, we want to offer you a solution. iheart Principles can fill the gap you speak about. We give young people the equivalent of a masters degree in resilience and wellbeing. And we believe in going up steam and preventing young children from falling in the river, so CAHMS doesn’t have to desperately try to pull them out of the river downstream. 

    I find this article demoralising. Why demoralising you may ask? The idea of ‘top tips’ is belittling the true emergency of the children’s mental health crisis. A few ‘tips’ here and there will not evoke serious change and it can never be a true, and lasting, solution to the problem. A plaster over an already exposed wound. The government need to take a step back and re-evaluate what it is that they are trying to achieve. A generation of children feeling like they have a resilience deficit and thus need ‘tips’ in order to navigate life? Or would the government like a psychologically healthy, resilient, and thriving generation? I know what I’d rather.

    Existing solutions assume that today’s youth have a resilience deficit, thus creating programmes to ‘build’ or ‘create’ resilience. When we focus on solving the right problem – educating our children about their innate resilience –the evidence speaks for itself: 

    98% of children noticed a positive change in themselves at the end of the iheart programme.
    95% would recommend the programme to a friend.
    90% saw increased emotional resilience for dealing with adversity.

    If you would like to read more about iheart’s impact please head to our Impact page.