Monika Jephcott outlines what the campaign for a new Child Mental Health Charter hopes to achieve…

What is the Child Mental Health Charter?

The Child Mental Health Charter has emerged from two reports produced by experts in the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood. It calls upon the government to put children at the heart of reforming the Mental Health Act in 2019.

The Charter has six principles, the application of which will make a positive difference to the lives of children and their families by addressing significant defects in current policies.

What are those six principles?

  • Focus on the needs of children – their needs are different from young people
  • Protect children by using registered therapists
  • Invest in a properly qualified workforce and ensure that therapists are trained at level 7
  • Ensure that policy is informed by the best available appropriate evidence
  • Focus on the needs of parents and carers, and make services available in local schools
  • Make policies work with the aid of adequate government funding and joined-up working

How is the Charter progressing?

The first goal is to include the principles in a Queen’s Speech, followed by a Bill to enact legislation.

So far, there has been major progress with the tabling of the Early Day Motion #2285, to date supported by 54 MPs. Many of these MPs are also raising questions and expressing concerns in the House of Commons over the current state of affairs.

As we wait for legislation to be passed, the principles are being voluntarily adopted in schools as the basis of good practice.

How will the Charter affect pupils’ therapeutic support?

At present, there are many insufficiently qualified, unregistered persons working therapeutically with children, without clinical supervision and using interventions that are unproven and unsafe.

This is often a waste of money and time because their work is ineffective, and in some cases even unsafe, exposing schools to the risk of serious complaints.

Applying the principles will ensure the provision of a high-quality service, with measured outcomes that can be compared to national baselines, for those 20% of pupils that need support.

How can I support the Charter?

By supporting the Charter you will increase the chances of obtaining more funding for your school, You can pledge your support by visiting childmentalhealthcharter.com and adding your name to the list of supporters.

You can also ask your constituency MP to sign the aforementioned EDM 2285 – for more advice on how to do this, I can be contacted directly at mokijep@majemail.com.


What’s the difference?

  • Puts the needs of UK children at the centre of mental health reforms
  • Emphasises the importance of therapeutic help within schools for pupils requiring support
  • Promotes Mental Health Awareness training for all those who work with children, including teachers

Monika Jephcott is the chief executive of Play Therapy UK, the largest governing body of play therapy in the United Kingdom. It manages the PSA-accredited Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists and is the campaign leaders for the Child Mental Health Charter.

To find out more call 01825 761 143, email contact@ptukorg.com or visit playtherapy.org.uk.