Letter to the Mirror newspaper 12 February 2014
Well done to the Mirror for covering so fully the national scandal that is our children’s mental health crisis (February 10th).
Campaigners have been predicting this for years and we take no pleasure in being proven right. But what can readers do? First, challenge your local MP and Education Secretary Michael Gove about Britain’s appalling school testing and examination regime – and, worse still, their latest plans to ‘schoolify’ England’s early-years sector.
Secondly, throw your weight behind cultural movements like the ‘Too Much, Too Soon’ campaign which is working tirelessly to reverse these toxic, politician-led trends in modern society.
Dr Richard House
University of Winchester, Hants
MAHM Comment: Absolutely! Take a look at the website http://www.toomuchtoosoon.org/
It concerns us that our youngest children (0-5) are being hot-housed in pre-school years in the belief that this will definitely improve their life chances later in life. Perhaps it’s time for govt to start focusing a bit more how infants and small children benefit from a gentler/ more loving start in life, rather than long days at nursery. Also, resources need to be diverted to children’s wellbeing as they move through the primary and secondary years. We also need to invest in young adults and in better employment opportunities/apprenticeships etc as they start on the road to independence.
Valuing Family and Home Life:
We need to see better investment and support for family life, valuing mothers and fathers as children’s first educators, particularly in infancy and the pre-school years when attachments are formed and relationships are all-important.
We need fairer family taxation and allowances for carers, as well as better housing provision, so that families have the resources they need to care and educate their children. We need a solid health visiting service and support for adult health and wellbeing, particularly with fragmenting family life and extended families often living too far away to lend a helping hand. We’d like to see govt listening to people’s concerns about the stress they face in their busy daily lives and how parents want to prioritise family time, rather than both parents being expected to work ever-longer hours on depressingly low hourly rates. It’s time for policymakers to understand that the invisible care provided by families is of incalculable value to individuals, to society and ultimately to the nation’s GDP!! It’s time for care responsibilities to be factored into UK family taxation.