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  • Writer's pictureEllie Costello

Mental Health Week 2022

To coincide with Mental Health Week, Schools Week published a 9 page special supplement, which we were delighted to work with them on for 4 months. Many of our families’ voices were featured along with professionals, clinicians and colleagues from within the Square Peg network. The supplement ‘Kids In Crisis’ was subsequently nominated for the Private Eye Paul Foot Award in Investigative Journalism 2022, which is a huge testament to the impact and power of the piece.

During this time, we were also approached by the Sunday Times who wanted to focus on families who were finding the return to school hard after lockdowns and whose parents were being fined.

Alongside this, we worked with Channel 4 News on a piece covering the same children & young people. We’d like to thank all the brave families, children & young people who came forward and shared their stories.

And parallel to this was a piece of work for the Children’s Commissioner’s Office, who were undertaking research on barriers to school attendance and persistent absence. 20 children and young people took part in a series of interviews with the CCO’s researchers and openly shared their challenges and difficulties presented by the systems’ responses.

We also took part in radio interviews by Times Radio, LBC and BBC WM during this focussed period of interest around school, attendance and our children's mental health.

This led to invitations to give evidence to the Times Education Commission, chaired by Rachel Sylvester and the Commission on Young Lives, chaired by Anne Longfield CBE.

Whilst the press and media coverage has been welcome, and we are glad dots are being joined and our families are being heard, we must not lose sight that this level of clinical distress in our children, young people and their families should not be happening. Furthermore, it is preventable and avoidable.

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