On Children’s Mental Health Week, we consider the relationship between children and young people’s experience of food poverty in Wales and mental health. All rights are connected and related to each other. How might your right to health, including mental health, be affected if your right to adequate food isn’t met? Read our blog here:
Mental health and young people’s experience of food poverty in Wales
All rights are connected and related to each other. How might your right to health, including mental health, be affected if your right to adequate food isn’t met?
You have a right to food as part of your right to an adequate standard of living. Your standard of living includes things like the right to adequate food and housing. You also have a right to health and there are services available if you need to support:
Place 2 Be – Mental health support for under 18s
Hafal – Help from Hafal
Young Minds – My feelings
Childline – Get support
The Mix – Get support
Anyone can experience food poverty or mental health in their life. More people are experiencing food poverty because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected lots of people’s jobs and incomes in Wales. The link between the Covid pandemic and the mental wellbeing of young people was also highlighted in The mental health emergency: How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted our mental health? a report published by Mind Cymru. The survey found that three quarters of young people said their mental health was worse in the early months of the pandemic, while a third of young people who tried to access support were unable to do so.
There are lots of connections between your experience of food poverty and your mental health.
- Not getting enough food to eat or food that is poor quality can impact your mood and you might find it harder to concentrate in your lessons at school.
- Not knowing where your next meal is coming from or whether it will be enough can create feelings of anxiety and stress
- The stigma around poverty and free school meals may impact your mental health by making you feel isolated, embarrassed or stressed
- If your parents or carers are worried about money and being able to feed everyone, this might make you feel worried or helpless.
The Welsh Government has set out priorities related to children and young people’s mental health, including:
- Prioritise investment in mental health.
- Prioritise service redesign to improve prevention, tackle stigma and promote a no wrong door approach to mental health support.
- Roll out child and adolescent mental health services ‘in-reach’ in schools across Wales.
You can find out more about children and food poverty in Wales here, including how to access support or food services.
The Welsh Youth Parliament has done lots of work on mental health and emotional support, which you can find out more about here.
The Children’s Legal Centre for Wales is starting a project on the mental health of children and young people. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org