2.4 The role of society
Of course, each individual child and adult is a member of society. Therefore, it can be argued that everyone has a responsibility to support children’s mental health and wellbeing.
There are many ways that such support can be demonstrated, for example:
- Increased understanding of the critical 0–2-year period of life and how good foundations for the future are laid down when parents and young children have loving relationships and strong attachments. In line with this suggestion, there needs to be funding for high-quality early education for children.
- Adopting the messages in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, listening to children and taking their views into account.
- Creating safe environments for children to be able to explore and enjoy both indoor and outdoor play activities.
- Changing attitudes towards children so that there is increased tolerance for children.
There is a pressing need for government to support the creation of a curriculum that is not only suitable for children’s age and stage of development, but one that can increase children’s autonomy as well as enhance their creativity and wellbeing.
The Department of Health and Department for Education’s green paper ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ (2018) is a significant contribution to reacting to the number of children being diagnosed with mental health conditions. The green paper promotes an integrated and holistic approach to addressing the problem. One proposal is for schools to have a designated senior lead for mental health in schools by 2025. There will be a need for high-quality training to equip staff to be able to identify children with mental health problems and know how to support them in schools.