This week, following the launch of the Youth Select Committee report on Young Peoples Mental Health, the British Youth Council and UK Youth Parliament got several mentions in Westminster.
First was Health Minister Alistair Burt MP who said in the chamber: “May I commend the report issued just this week by the British Youth Council’s youth select committee on young people’s mental health? It made this recommendation: “Cyberbullying and sites which promote self-harm can have a significant impact on the mental health of young people. Hoping that children will simply stop using social networks is not a solution. We recommend that the Government should facilitate a roundtable for charities, technology companies, young people, and the Government to work together to find creative solutions needed to help young people stay safe online”.
The Government will issue a full response from both my Department and the Department for Education, but I commend the Youth Council and that select committee for the hard work they have put in, which will certainly be taken seriously.”
Second was shadow leader of the House Chris Bryant MP who said: “On Friday, Mr Speaker, as you know, the UK national Youth Parliament sat in this Chamber under your chairmanship. Last year’s Youth Parliament chose mental health as its campaign for the year, on the back of which the Youth Select Committee, helped by the House of Commons staff, published its report this week entitled “Young People’s Mental Health”. It is an excellent report, which argues that mental health is as important as physical health and says that more than half of all mental ill health starts before the age of 14. It also refers to the stigma of mental ill health as the greatest battle of all. Today is international men’s day, and it is a sad fact that suicide is still the biggest killer of men between the ages of 20 and 49 in England and Wales. Young gay men are six times more likely than their straight counterparts to take their own lives. Is it not incumbent on all of us to tackle the root causes of mental ill health, to protect the vulnerable and to end the stigma which is all too often attached to it?”
Finally the British Youth Council’s Honorary President, Wes Streeting MP, sponsored a cross party Early Day Motion praising the debates of the UK Youth Parliament and called on the Government to make time to debate the issues by MPs. Has your MP signed up ? If not contact them!
“That this House notes the exceptional contribution made by the British Youth Council’s UK Youth Parliament to public life, especially through local communities, and its ability to mobilise and engage the broader youth population in political issues and campaigning; further notes the hard work of the charity and its volunteers in fulfilling their role in representing the voice of young people to Parliament, where on 13 November 2015, 300 young elected representatives debated in the House their priority campaigns for 2016 from five topics chosen by a record-breaking ballot of 968,900 young people across the UK; recognises the efforts of young people seeking to inform and influence public policy development; encourages all hon. Members of the House to view the debates on BBC Parliament or to read them in Hansard, and seek to amplify and promote their issues in the forums that matter, including Parliament itself; and urges the Government to make time for hon. Members to debate, and the Government to respond to, those issues raised, which this year included the Living Wage, curriculum for life, public transport, mental health and tackling racism and religious discrimination.”