Sharp rise in the number of children under 11 being referred for mental health treatment by schools; wouldn’t prevention be better than cure?

The government’s response to this worrying statistic is to pledge £1.7 billion to enable schools to meet the needs of the burgeoning number of children with mental health problems. But why are they not  questioning the causes of this huge increase in school children needing mental health treatment?.

Is it because government is unaware of the causes of poor mental health and the importance of consistent responsive loving care in the early years for future mental and physical health?

There is considerable compelling evidence that a secure attachment bond is of paramount importance for the mental health and wellbeing of children, both in the short and long term. and it seems that government is ignoring this. A sensitive and consistent relationship between parent and child, when parents are attuned to the baby’s emotional needs enables the development of a secure attachment, an essential for healthy brain development

Secure attachment provides; feelings of safety and security, it regulates emotions by soothing distress, creating joy and supporting calm and it offers a secure base to explore. The Sutton Trust in its report ‘Improving Social Mobility’ reported that 4 in 10 babies don’t develop a strong emotional bond or ‘secure attachment’ and as a result are more likely to experience behavioural and educational problems when they are older.

Three years ago the First 1001 Days All Party Parliamentary Group, published a report ‘Building Great Britons’, with 9 recommendations for policy ‘to deliver socially and emotionally capable children’. This cross-party report promoted taking a longer term view. It explained how by intervening early, before a child is born, is a more effective way of ensuring that children grow up to be a well-rounded members of society by providing well resourced, accessible and integrated universal services that support families with young children. ‘Building Great Britons’ Report described how poor mental health can be avoided through better attention to and understanding of the importance of the emotional needs of babies. Babies need to be loved and nurtured and their parents need to be valued and supported by society to enable them to raise an emotionally secure generation. ‘The groundwork for good citizenship occurs in the first 1001 days. A society which delivers this for its children creates a strong foundation for almost every aspect of its future. A society which fails to deliver it generates enormous problems for the future in terms of social disruption, inequality, mental and physical health problems, and cost’

Why, in 2018 has government still not acted on this advice from the All Party Parliamentary Committee? Why does it continue with policy announcements to deal with mental health problems in schools rather than preventing the emotional harm of babies, that cause mental problems.