Readers' letters - May 29

We're sleepwalking into a child mental health crisis

Friday, 1st June 2018, 3:20 pm
Updated Friday, 1st June 2018, 3:22 pm
Barnardos says the Government needs to tackle childrens mental health issues

The Government must tackle the “burning injustice” of the deepening crisis facing children’s mental health.Mental health is one of the major public health challenges of our time. In recent years, we’ve seen growing awareness in Westminster and in the media, but now we need urgent action to match the rhetoric.Research shows that one-in-10 children aged between five and 16 has a diagnosable mental health condition – roughly three children in every classroom. Meanwhile, shockingly, three-quarters of children with mental health problems cannot access the support they need, with many young people waiting 10 months for the start of treatment. Clearly we have a major problem, which the Prime Minister rightly described as a “burning injustice” last January. But despite these troubling figures, we seem to be sleepwalking our way into an ever-deepening crisis. It’s time for society to wake up and work together to ensure the next generation of children has better mental health than their parents. The Government’s Mental Health Green Paper is a unique opportunity to put this right, but the current proposals lack ambition, the timeframe is too long and the resources too low to achieve the change we need.Javed KhanChief executiveBarnardo’s

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The i newsletter cut through the noise

Community – does it exist?Community is a word that has seeped into our lives in recent times, probably more so since the Cameron Government came up with the slogan ‘The Big Society’, code for “let’s see if the public falls for public services being provided on the cheap”.In my view, the community tag now being used is a sticking plaster term used by the Government to avoid having to address the true problems our country has.I believe genuine community ceased in the 60s with the onset of mass TV possession – which affected the choice to regularly attend cinemas, pubs etc; car ownership – which took people away from human contact when using public transport; and the phone – which reduced the need for eye to eye contact. All brilliant assets and inventions but they changed our society.Community is now often cited by the media but where are the examples in anything other than very small hubs of people like villages? In our towns and cities, we are plagued with crime of all levels. If you walk down any high street, you are lucky not to be bowled over by people scurrying with coffee in one hand, head down, staring at their phone. Please, thank you and excuse me are now terms that pass many people’s lips less and less. What is community spirited about, for example, people being fearful of walking our streets?The sticking plaster term will not solve our problems of insufficient police to maintain law and order, and a lack of funds for health care and other public services. Philip Crowthervia emailOffended taking offence again

The professor, in a lift, who mentioned the lingerie department, was called upon to apologise and now, so too, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, who said that the economy was entering a menopausal stage.No doubt the Bank is now instructing people never to say that situation A will give birth to outcome B, nor to say that they can/cannot conceive a particular circumstance. All accounting periods will need to be reclassified into months or years. And they must not speak of keeping abreast of things.It’s getting to the stage where I think we should first be seeking apologies from those whose readiness to take offence is so acute as to be offensive in itself.Neil InkleyAddress suppliedShopping on the high street

What’s happening to our high street?Marks & Spencer is now struggling, I never thought that would happen to this institution.I don’t buy my clothes from there as I am not quite ready for the things they sell yet. But I go in most days for food. Years ago we never had so much choice, so Marksies or C&A were the port of call and look what happened to them.Shut up shop. Wonder who will be next?Jayne Grayson via email