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MQ’s campaign swears to take on crisis in young people’s mental health

Today, we have launched our new campaign to tackle mental illness in young people - We Swear.

Our first national campaign is asking the public to join celebrities including Gillian Anderson, Melanie C and Greg James to swear with us to transform mental health through research.

New figures we’ve released today show that four in 10 Brits believe that mental illness is now an inevitable part of life, such is the lack of understanding and action around mental health.

We also found that 84% think that not enough is being done to tackle mental illness for the future. And 68% of parents believe that having more education about mental illnesses could prevent suffering for future generations.[1]

We Swear launches amidst a growing crisis in young people’s mental health, which is devastating young lives. Three children in every class are affected by a diagnosable mental illness, many of whom are waiting an average of a decade between experiencing their first symptoms and getting help. We know that only a quarter of young people referred to services are receiving appropriate care.

The need for improvements could not be greater. But the major lack of funding for mental health research is holding back progress. Overall, only £8 is spent on research per person affected on mental health in the UK, which is 22 times less than per person for cancer (£178) and 14 times less than dementia spend (£110).

And despite 75% of mental illness starting before the age of 18[2], less than 30% of the total mental health research spend is focused on children and young people. As a result, the majority of mental healthcare resources are not designed or developed for young people, leading to poor treatment outcomes in young people and hindering prevention efforts.

Cynthia Joyce, our CEO said:  

“Enough is enough. Too many young people are experiencing the frustration, pain and uncertainty of mental illness.  It is not an inevitable part of life.  And it is certainly not acceptable. The current state of mental health treatment would simply never be accepted for a physical condition. Through research can we get to grips with this growing crisis in young people's mental health - and build progress towards much-needed hope for everyone affected.”

Find out more about the celebrities, politicians, reasearchers and young people already supporting We Swear.

[1] Children and young people’s mental illness perception research: all figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,276 children aged 8-15. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15-18 April 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB children (aged 8-15).

[2] MQ’s manifesto for young people’s mental health, 2016.

Last updated: 17 January 2017

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© MQ: Transforming mental health 2016 | Registered charity in England / Wales: 1139916 & Scotland: SC046075 | Company number: 7406055