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Children care about feeling happy and well and they want to be physically healthy. They reject the artificial dichotomy between physical and mental health and know how important it is to maintain good health. They also have a very good sense of what helps them do this.

What children say about Health

‘The lack of help with mental health has been the biggest thing that has stopped me and my friends from achieving what we want. It is difficult to access as we are not taken seriously, and when we are, waiting lists are so long’ – Girl, 17.

‘There needs to be more of a push towards physical fitness as it’s a real motivation booster’ – Boy, 16.

It was clear from The Big Ask that children today value their mental and physical wellbeing. They recognise how important good mental and physical health is as part of a good childhood, and a successful adulthood. While 8 in 10 children were happy or fine, 1 in 5 children worried about their mental health and this was one of the biggest worries for children. Some groups of children worried more about their mental health, with 2 in 5 teenage girls worrying about this.  

What progress we have made to deliver for children in the area of Health

The vision for children

Now, as we emerge from this period, there is an opportunity to make sure we are prioritising children’s wellbeing in general, and, where it is needed most. The Children’s Commissioner wants children’s mental and physical health to be a top priority, with a focus on preventing ill health and increasing access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time.  Additionally, the Children’s Commissioner has called for the roll-out of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) for every school by 2026/27, to provide an enhanced level of support and more connections between schools and NHS specialist services. 

The Commissioner has set out six ambitions to support children’s mental health. In the wake of the pandemic, it is more crucial than ever that we take the time to listen to them, and to give them the support they need. The six ambitions are:  

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