Making a significant impact with one unified voice 

The Zurich Community Trust does not usually fund campaigning and lobbying but from our research in 2009 we found that the most pressing need was for one single voice to lobby for change to directly improve the mental wellbeing of all children and young people. 

Due to the size and nature of the charities operating in this sector, it was clear that collaboration was required.  And so the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, hosted by The Mental Health Foundation, was born. 
Over £487,000 has been committed between 2009-16 to pay for a Coalition Coordinator, Press & PR support, Policy support as well as the running costs of hosting Coalition meetings to influence and campaign for better mental health provision for children and young people – ensuring that it is at the heart of the national and local agendas.


Members include the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP); British Psychological Society; Centre for Mental Health; Family Action; Mental Health Foundation; NSPCC; Place2Be, Rethink Mental Illness; Royal College of Psychiatrists, Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships; YoungMinds; and YouthNet. Youth Access and .   Plus, we have around 100 organisational Supporter members. 

Dame Professor Sue Bailey is Chair and is also a Consultant Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatrist at Greater Manchester West NHS Foundation Trust and is Honorary Professor of Mental Health Policy at the University of Central Lancashire. Mick Atkinson is Vice Chair and is Head of Commissioning at Place2Be.

About the Coalition

The Coalition brings together leading organisations from across England, forming a powerful voice to campaign on issues around children and young people's mental health and wellbeing. 

Our aims:

  • Speak as one unified voice on behalf of children and young people to campaign and lobby for effective early intervention.
  • Influence Ministers, Parliamentarians and key policy makers to change policy at the highest levels to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all babies, children and young people in England.

  • Encourage local commissioners to prioritise children and young people's mental health and invest in early intervention services.

  • Work in tandem with young people to fight for parity.

Current Priorities


Give all parents access to information, with additional targeted support for vulnerable parents to promote babies' emotional development.

Around 122,000 parents with babies under one have a mental health problem. This can impact on their ability to become securely attached to their babies - about 40% of babies are not securely attached to a main carer.

Early intervention

Secure sustainable funding for the provision of local services that are jointly designed with children and young people.  Furthermore, they need to be mental health and wellbeing services that are easily accessible.

Without effective interventions mental health problems which begin in childhood and adolescence often continue into adulthood. Early onset mental health problems undermine children's life chances across a range of health, education and social domains, which can lead to significant costs to society.

Age appropriate services

Provide young people with the necessary access to mental health and wellbeing services to prepare them for adulthood.

There is often a service gap where young people become too old for children's mental health services, and not ill enough for adult services. Very vulnerable young people are often left without any support at a time when they most need it.

Commissioning based on good data

Ensure that at a local and national level that commissioning of services are based on current data about needs and underpinned by robust policy and practice.

There isn't any current community based data on the prevalence of children and young people's mental health. The last large community based survey was undertaken in 2004, with a top up sample in 2007, which predates the economic downturn and social media. At that point, the prevalence was 1 in 10 so one would expect the number to have increased.

Appropriate training

Guarantee that everyone working with children and young people receives an appropriate level of mental health and child development training.

Children and young people's mental health is everyone's responsibility. Professionals who work with children and young people, but who are not mental health specialists (such as teachers, youth workers, health visitors), all have an important part to play in intervening early with mental health problems. Often these professionals have inadequate knowledge which can prevent them from fulfilling this role.


Achievements 2010-2015

  • Influenced the Department of Health to include the needs of children and young people in the 2011 Mental Health Strategy. This was the first time that children and young people's mental health was included with adult mental health.
  • Produced a blueprint to enable schools to promote mental health and wellbeing.

  • Worked closely with schools by running a schools competition, which enabled us to identify and reward good practice. Furthermore, we built good relationships and obtained case studies.

  • Influenced Public Health England to produce a framework for schools to improve emotional and mental wellbeing in schools.

  • Created data detailing the success of local agencies in prioritising children and young people's mental health.

  • Coalition members were key members of the Children & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Taskforce and had a significant influence on the resulting policy proposals.

  • Developed good relationships with Ministers, Parliamentarians, Government Departments and arms length bodies as away to influence policy.

  • Work with the Departments of Health, Education and Public Health England and the membership of the Coalition to move to the next generation of it's voice.

Zurich employees have also been involved with the Coalition by designing the logo and giving advice on lobbying and campaigning.