Mental Health Through Movement

Helen Clark, Phil Royal, Helen WEST, Dr. Victoria Randall, Professor Michael Silk, Dr. Ashok Patnail, Samad Shahid, Dr. Martin Yelling, Neil Coleman, Chris Wright, Stuart Kay, Pippa Bagnall, Dr. Aric Sigman, Sarah Adams, Dr. Deborah Albon, Dr. Alison Murray, Dr. Pamela Murray, Anna Hodgson, Rebecca Hill, Emma WhewellGary Palmer, Daniel Lee, Agnes Javor, Mary Lubrano, Kathryn Salt MBE, Paula Lochrie, Jeff Thomas, Monika Jephcott, Dr. Amanda Norman, Dr. Lala Manners, Julie Pearson, Jennifer Murray, Dr. Kristy Howells

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


Children’s mental health:
‘has become an issue of real concern, in the media and to both politicians and NHS leaders, over the last five years in particular. It has prompted numerous inquiries, reports, recommendations and pledges by politicians and NHS leaders to improve the situation’:

On July 1st 2019, the Local Government Association released statistics to show that:
‘There were 205,720 cases where a child was identified as having a mental health issue in 2017/18, compared with 133,600 in 2014/15- up 54%’:

It is within this context that the All-Party Parliamentary Group on A Fit and Healthy Childhood presents its 14th Report: ‘Positive Mental Health Through Movement’.

With 1 in 10 children now having a mental health diagnosis and 1 in 4 an
undiagnosed mental health issue, this, our third Report on the issue of child
mental health, addresses the link between positive mental health and physical
activity and movement experiences at a time when, paradoxically, today’s children and young people are more inactive and play less than ever before.
The growing recognition of a link between mental health and movement is
fortuitous because from September 2019, health education in English schools will be statutory alongside the expectation that they will offer their pupils at least 30 ‘active minutes’ per day. The APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood welcomes the change whilst recognising that those responsible for implementing the new strategy (including practitioners and families) will need guidance as they help children to develop individual strategies to address future adverse events and foster the positive sense of self that will enable them to lead fulfilled, healthy lives.

This Report is therefore presented as a practical contribution to an essential

It offers new strategies against the persistence of historical and traditional ways of thinking; examines and collates best practice in the devolved Home Countries as well as the wider world and discusses exactly what is required to ensure that future child mental health strategy is holistic. It is respectful of equalities and is aware that the successful outcome of policies is entirely dependent upon the expertise and confidence of those tasked with the responsibility of delivering them.

As the 21st century advances, we consider the effects of the digital age and its
impact on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and the
crucial role of parents and carers who want the best for their children in a societal climate where, all too often, fears of ‘nanny state’ meddling serve to isolate families who suffer in silence – until a disaster that may have been all too
predictable and preventable overtakes them, making a private grief a public

The trajectory of progress in mental health policy has been ‘stop start’ rather than linear, with legislative change in 1959 and 1983, an increase in spending from 1997- 2010 and radical changes to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in 2000. The Wessely Independent Review of the Mental Health Act is another such milestone:

The APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood anticipates that the Government will
fulfil its pledge to parents, children and practitioners by introducing much needed mental health legislation - and that our trio of Reports and the holistic theme of this one will help to inform a strategy that works for 21st century children.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAPPG Fit and Healthy Childhoods
Commissioning bodyAPPG Fit and Healthy Childhoods
Number of pages57
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Mental health
  • Children
  • Wellbening
  • Movement
  • Exercise
  • Positive mental health


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