= I am a local student at South Bromsgrove High School and personally concerned with the issues surrounding mental health.

Currently, suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged 5-19 (according to ONS research in 2016) and even though 50% of mental health issues are experienced by children under 14, under half of the budget goes to childrens mental health services. Recently, mental health services have suffered greatly due to high levels of austerity and lack of funding. In the local area alone, many services have seen steep increases in referrals however insufficient staffing and/or resources to meet patient needs.

I believe the budget for mental health services needs to be increased significantly (nationally and in Bromsgrove) to therefore provide equal resources for both physical and mental health to provide support for those with mental illnesses and finally, reduce waiting times for mental health appointments.

I also think that counselling services should be widely available to all secondary schools, as commonly, many young people (again, nationally and in Bromsgrove) experience mental health issues. With continued funding cuts, ineffective prevention and waiting times of circa five months for appointments people experiencing mental health difficulties will continue to suffer.

Joe Morris