Dear Editor,

We are writing to you as mental health professionals to express our grave concern that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will have a profound negative impact on young people’s mental health with unforeseen consequences, including an escalation in ‘criminal’ behaviour.

We cannot think of better measures to disempower and socially isolate young people who are already suffering the devastating mental health consequences of disrupted education and prohibited social contact imposed by the pandemic. This happens at a time when the government claims to be prioritising children’s mental health and wellbeing. For example, government guidance states that “involving students in decisions that impact on them can benefit their mental health and wellbeing by helping them to feel part of the school, college and wider community and to have some control over their lives.”

We completely agree. Engaging in nonviolent protest is a democratic right that is part of such involvement, and restricting it in the manner envisaged in this bill will further erode young people’s trust in politicians, and their belief that their voices are heard, respected and matter.

A growing body of research shows that children and young people’s mental wellbeing is already detrimentally impacted by adult failures to address the climate and ecological emergency. A recent survey of 10,000 16-25-year-olds from both the Global South and North found that almost 6 out of 10 were very or extremely worried about climate change and that these anxieties correlated with perceived inadequate government response and associated feelings of betrayal. At the same time there is increasing evidence that youth engagement in activism is one antidote to despair, and that it increases children’s positive skills and capacities. 

During the recent COP26 meeting in Glasgow, COP President Alok Sharma noted the fear and anxiety that young people, including his own children, feel about the future of the planet, and went on to compliment them for their “passion and commitment […] to climate action.” He argued that “the actions and scrutiny of young people are key to us keeping 1.5 alive and creating a net-zero future.” Unfortunately, the end result of the Glasgow meeting is that “the pulse of 1.5 is weak”, to quote Mr Sharma again. Even if all COP26 pledges are met, the planet is on track to warm by 2.4℃. 

Yet it is at this terrifying moment that the Government chooses to introduce new draconian legislation that will criminalise young activists engaging in nonviolent protest. Indeed the legislation appears in many parts to be specifically designed to entrap activists who are engaging in demonstrations that are essential for a healthy democracy.

For example, should young activists choose to engage in a march down a local high street, shouting and singing, as is customary during many school climate actions and Black Lives Matter protests, and if just two people are deemed to be seriously annoyed by this behaviour, those young people could be committing a criminal offence. If they fail to stop the disruption, perhaps choosing to link arms, or simply sit down in the road, they may be liable to 51 weeks in prison. And if they attend just two protests in a five year period that could have caused such serious disruption they may be subject to protest banning orders which mean that the police can monitor where they live, restrict who they meet, where and when they go out and their use of the internet. Meanwhile the new Stop and Search powers mean that police can arbitrarily stop any young person and search them on the basis that they might be carrying a banner, badges, leaflets to support a ‘banned protest, and we know from previous experience who is most likely to be targeted: black and ethnic minority youth who have already been disproportionality arrested and are more vulnerable than others to mental health problems, largely because of inequity and social injustice. 

One result of this legislation, if passed, will be that young people face a choice between being intimidated into inaction and isolation, or possibly criminalised if they choose to act. Some may deliberately choose to escalate their actions to be more disruptive and possibly violent, given the severe consequences for even minor nonviolent activity. Whichever choice they make it will have profound consequences for their mental well being and the wellbeing of the wider community.

This is why as mental health professionals we feel obliged to condemn this bill and add our voices to the increasing number of individuals, professional bodies and organisations who have spoken out against it including, health and social care workers, legal academics, former police chiefs and numerous others.

Protecting young people’s mental health is our paramount duty. Taking action for and with them to address the planetary crisis is equally important. We ask our political representatives to recognise these concerns and oppose this dangerous Bill.

Yours sincerely,


Dr Isaac O. Akande Clinical Psychologist
Hon Professor Dr Geraldine Akerman Principal Psychologist
Mustafa Alachkar Consultant psychiatrist, NHS
Dr Ahmad Allam Psychiatry Trainee at NHS Scotland
Jennifer Allen Lecturer
Alison Alway Educational Psychologist
Carlos Amartey Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Ms Annie Bird Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Henry Ashcroft Psychiatrist
Dr Kara Bagnall Clinical Psychologist
Richard Bagnall-Oakeley Integrative Child, Adolescent & Adult Psychotherapist (UKCP Reg.)
Dr Cate Bailey Consultant Psychiatrist
Vikki Baker Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Lewis Baker Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Ruth Baldwin Operational Director
Dr Jon Barnes Consultant Psychiatrist
Dr Nick Barnes Specialty Doctor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Romi Barrett Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Samantha Barton Assistant Psychologist
Dr J Isabel Battye Principal Clinical Psychologist
Dr Martin Billington GP
Lesley Black GP
Charley Blackwell Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Leeds
Jessica Blumsom Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Christelle Blunden GP
Morag Borszcz Counsellor/ Psychotherapist
Dr Hattie Bowden-Howl Clinical Psychologist, NHS
Dr Boyd Psychologist
Dr Andy Brackett Clinical Psychologist, CAMHS, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
L M Brady MSc Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Stuart Bretherton Housing Support Worker
Joanna Brett Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Emma Brooks Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Juliette Brown Consultant Psychiatrist, East London
Dr Sarah Brown Clinical Psychologist
Dr Nicholas Browne GP
Roxy Bugler School Counsellor at Tufnell Park Primary School
Dr Eleanor Bull Health Psychologist
S. Bundy Educational Psychologist
Hannah Burton Psychological Therapist
Sophie Cadwgan CBT therapist IAPT Gloucestershire Health and Care trust
Lizzie Cambray Registered Counselling Psychologist
Holly Cameron Trainee clinical psychologist, University of Southampton
Dr. Kelly Camilleri Clinical psychologist
Imogen Campbell Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Hannah Campling CT3 Psychiatrist
Thomas Carter Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Anna Chalmers-Brown Clinical Psychologist
Dr Lucia Chaplin Psychiatrist
Dr Rebecca Chasey Clinical Psychologist
Dr H Chow Clinical Psychologist
James Clancey Psychotherapist
Isabel Clarke Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
Dr Katy Woodward Coates Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Sarah-Jane Cockburn RMN and Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Southampton
Amanda Cole Consultant Psychologist and Psychotherapist
PCH Colley Psychotherapist
Dr Eleanor Cooke CT3 Psychiatry, UCLH
Audrey Cooper Psychotherapist
Mallory Corkum MSW Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Paula Corredor Lopez Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dr Phil Cox (PsychD) Psychologist/Psychotherapist
Dr Michael Creed NHS Psychiatrist
Dr Sue Crimlisk Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr Sarah Cross Clinical Psychologist
Dr Amelia Cussans Psychiatry trainee
Dr Jen Daffin, Community Clinical Psychologist Trauma Informed Practice Lead
Dr Anne Darcy Clinical Psychologist
Dr Andrew Davey GP
Dr Virginia Davies Consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Whittington Hospital, London
Francesca Dempsey CBT Therapist
James Deutsch, MD, PhD, FRCPC Assistant Professor, Div. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Fabricio Donizete da Costa Psychiatrist & Psychoanalyst in Public Health Centres in Campinas, Brazil
Louise Dornan Psychologist in Clinical Training
Christa Drennan Psychotherapist
Greg Dring Clinical Psychologist
Bernadka Dubicka Honorary Professor University of Manchester
Dr Erica Eassom Clinical Psychologist
Dr Katrin Edelman Consultant Psychiatrist
Peter Edwards Consultant Psychiatrist
Stephanie Elliott Senior mental Health Nurse
Mary Lynne Ellis Analytical Psychotherapist, Perspectives Psychotherapy
Dr Els van Ooijen Psychotherapist
Dr Liam Embliss Junior doctor in psychiatry
Dr Abi Enlander Clinical Psychologist
Paolo Enock youth worker, psychologist
Dr Tracy Epton Lecturer in Health Psychology
Jack Erasmus Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Jon Ettey Principal Clinical Psychologist
Prof. Chris Evans Honorary/Visiting Professor, University of Roehampton & UDLA, Quito, Ecuador
Julia Faulconbridge Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Lorena Fava Psychotherapist
Candida Fernandes Trainee clinical psychologist
Dr Rachel Forrest Educational psychologist
Nadine Fox Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Alex Fradera CPsychol Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Leah Francis Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Essex
Dr Hannah Frenken Clinical Psychologist
Kathryn Gaffney Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Valerie Gajewski Psychotherapist
Dr Eleanor Gaynor CT3 psychiatry
Jane Gilbert Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Guy Gladstone Group Process Facilitator, child and adolescent psychotherapist
Dr Ciara Glennon Clinical Psychologist
Nicole Gluckman Trainee Clinical Psychologist at University of East London
Hayley Goddard Trainee Clinical Associate Psychologist
Dr Shona Goodall Clinical Psychologist
Lucy Gormley Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Samantha Gothard Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr Hugh. Grant-Peterkin Consultant Psychiatrist. East London NHS Foundation Trust
Karoline Greve Grouleff Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Anjula Gupta Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dr Ciaran MC Hale Clinical Psychologist
Dr Simon Hamilton Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Fiona Hamilton Director of Studies, Higher Education
Nicola Harris Trainee clinical psychologist
Dr Carl Harris, Chair of the Community Psychology Section of the BPS Clinical Psychologist
Dr Annabel Hayes Clinical Psychologist
Sue Haynes Counselling Psychologist
Dr Alexia Haysom Psychiatry Core Trainee
Dr Annabel Headdon GP
Dr Cheyann Heap Research Associate, University of York (former Clinical Psychologist)
Dr Sarah Henderson Specialist Clinical Psychologist
Lauren Hewitt Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Lealah Hewitt-Johns Clinical Psychologist
Patricia Hewlett Psychologist
Emma Hickey Clinical Psychologist
Felix Higgins-Stockden Trainee Clinical Psychologist- Plymouth University & Cornwall NHS Foundation Trust
Dr Kate Highton Consultant Psychiatrist East London
Dr Richard Hobbs Senior clinical psychologist
Dr. Cat Holligan ST4 in General Adult Psychiatry
Dr Kathryn Hollins Consultant Child Psychiatrist
Dr Josanne Holloway Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist
Dr Charlotte Horseman Core Trainee in Psychiatry
Dr Peter Hughes Psychiatrist
Dr Mashal Iftikhar Trainee Psychiatrist
Lucy Isherwood Counsellor
Debra jackson Social worker  CAMHS
Dr Katherine Jackson, ClinPsyD, CPsychol Senior Clinical Psychologist, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Muna Jama Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Rebecca James Systemic Practitioner
Dr Magdalena Jimenez Trainee Psychiatrist
Dr Rebecca Johnson Consultant Clinical Psychologist,
Dr Bob Johnson MRCPsych MRCGP Consultant psychiatrist, retired
Dr Lucy Johnstone Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Rachael Jones Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Lynne Jones OBE FRCPsych Consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist
Rebecca Joseph Speech and Language Therapist
Marya Kanwal Psychotherapist
Dr Alan Kellas Consultant Psychiatrist
Dr. Claudia Kempfen GP
Libby Psychotherapist
Dr Joe Kibble, DClinPsy Clinical Psychologist
Dr Susan Kidd GP
Dr. Esther Kiehl Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Danielle King Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Georgia King Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Julie Kingston Psychotherapist
Justin Kington Consultant psychiatrist
L Knight Counselling Psychologist
Dr Kaaren Knight Clinical Psychologist
Jacob Krzanowski Consultant Psychiatrist
Aleksandra Kudlicka, PhD, CPsychol Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Sam Kuok GP
Mr H T La Maga Trainee Psychotherapist
Dr Clare Lamb Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr Paul Leach GP
Kacey Leader BSc(Hons), Ad Dip. Counseling. MBACP Counsellor, psychological therapist and supervisor.
Sophie Lee Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Elanor Lewis-Holmes Specialist Clinical Psychologist
Dr Ching Li CAMHS Psychiatrist, Tavistock and Portman
Dr Amy Lineham Clinical Teaching Fellow
Dr Maria Loades Clinical Psychologist
Cheyenne Loana Psychology student Liverpool John Moores University
Sarah London Trainee Gestalt Psychotherapist
Bell Selkie Lovelock Counsellor
Trudi Macagnino Psychotherapist
Suzanna Mackenzie Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Kindy Mahal Child and Adolescent Learning Disability Psychiatrist, Oxford Health
Emily Maitland Psychotherapist
Dr Aleksandra Matakovic Manca Consultant child psychiatrist NHS
Dr Jude Mann Psychologist
Dr Constantina Markides (DClinPsy) Clinical Psychologist
Dr Elizabeth Marks Senior Lecturer, University of Bath
Dr Will Marsh Psychiatrist
Dr Jon-Paul Marshall Counselling Psychologist
Dr Sean Maskey FRC Psych Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Maudsley Hospital. London.
Dr Elanor Maybury Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dr Ife May-Elegbede Psychiatry trainee
Jennifer Mbanu Trainee clinical psychologist, University of Exeter
Kathryn McAree Trainee clinical psychologist
Skye McDade-Burn Child Psychotherapeutic Counsellor
Samantha McDonnell Psychotherapeutic Counsellor
Dr David McKelvey GP
Alice McNamara Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Southampton
Dr Catriona Mellor Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr Pia Menzies Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr. Hugh Middleton MD, FRCPsych, MRCP Associate Professor, University of Nottingham & Retired NHS Consultant Psychiatrist
Annie Mitchell AFBPsS Clinical Psychologist; Associate of University of Exeter & University of Plymouth
Dr Rebekah Moore Clinical Psychologist, Glasgow psychological trauma service
Hazel Morfett MSc Counselling Psychologist in training
Dr Amber Morgan Clinical Psychologist
Dr Gareth Morgan Clinical lecturer, University of Leicester
Dr Amber Morgan Clinical Psychologist
Dr Mungo Morris GP
Emily Mortimer Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Ilyeh Nahdi Speech and Language Therapist
Dr Ian Nerurkar GP
Dr Ian Newey Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Liam Newton Consultant Forensic Psychologist
Dr Angela Nicholas Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr Sally Norwood Clinical Psychologist
Dr Tom Nutting Psychiatrist
Ruth O’ Gorman Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Peadar O’Grady Consultant Child Psychiatrist
Susie Orbach Psychotherapist,
Dr Meltem Osman Clinical Psychologist
Maggie Palmer Family Therapist SLAM NHS Trust
Dr Gemma Parker Clinical Psychologist
Charlotte Parkinson Psychotherapist
Ms Krupali Patel Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Natalie Phillips Trainer Clinical Psychologist
Jayne Pigford Psychotherapist
Rosie Pill Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Dr Hayley Pinto Consultant psychiatrist
Rob Poole Professor of Social Psychiatry, Bangor University
Joanna Porter Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Dr Riddhi Prajapati Clinical psychologist
Dr Gillian Proctor Lecturer in counselling and psychotherapy, University of Leeds and independent Clinical Psychologist
Dr Jethro Purkis Psychiatrist
Dr Jody Quigley NHS Clinical Psychologist
Karen Reissmann Mental health nurse
Dr Nick Rhodes Clinical Psychologist
Jenifer Richards Trainee clinical psychologist
Stephanie Richardson Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Emanuela Roberti Psychotherapist & Writer
Dr Rosa Roberts Psychiatrist
Dr Jane H Roberts FRCGP PhD GP; Clinical Lead for Youth Mental Health
Dr Elizabeth Robertson MBChB BSc MRCPsych Psychiatrist
Gavin Robinson. Counsellor and Sensorimotor Therapist
Dr Phaedra Robinson Senior Clinical Psychologist
Dr. J Rodger Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Devon Partnership NHS Trust
Dr April Romney Educational Psychologist
Annette Ros Psychiatry CT2
Ali Rowe RMN Former RMN
Ms Shira Rüb Registered Clinical Psychologist, Independent Expert Witness, Children and Families
Dr Emma Russell Clinical Psychologist
Dr Aruna Sahni Consultant psychiatrist
Dr Chloe Sakal Psychiatrist
Dr Judith Samuel Clinical Psychologist
Sue Sanderson Educational psychologist
Dr Chloe Saunders PhD Candidate and Psychiatry Registrar (MRCPsych)
Jon Scott Clinical Psychologist
Jenny Secretan Retired counsellor/psychotherapist
Munzar Sharif Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Georgina Sherling Clinical Psychologist
Dr Kirsten Shukla Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Oxford Health NHS Trust
Jasmine Schulkind Psychiatry trainee
Dr Marianna Siapera MD, MSc Specialty Doctor in Psychiatry (UK)
Dr Tim Siggs Clinical Psychologist
Sally Skaife Art Therapist
Dr Alison Smith Clinical Psychologist
Evelyn Smith Trainee Clinical Psychologist University of East London
Dr James Stewart Psychiatrist
Duncan Still GP, Bristol
Dr Hannah Stringer Clinical Psychologist
Dr Derek Summerfield Hon Sen Clin Lect, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London
Theo Sunley Trainee clinical psychologist (UEL / St Mungo’s)
Dr Emma Svanberg Clinical Psychologist & Co-founder Make Birth Better CIC
Chloe Taylor Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Professor Eric Taylor Emeritus professor, King’s College London
Victoria Theocharous Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Lisa Thorne Interim CAMHS Lead for Psychology & Psychology Practice, Devon
Molly Thornton CBT therapist
Dr Claire Tiley Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Marian Titley Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Susan Tomlinson Psychotherapist
Dr Selina Tour Principal Clinical Psychologist, Prison Mental Health
Ciara Trant Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Christopher B Travers BA BMBCh MRCPsych ST4 CAMHS Psychiatry, North London
Dave Traxson Retired Educational Psychologist
Dr Thanos Tsapas Consultant psychiatrist
Dr Kellie Turner Clinical Psychologist, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Dr Maria G. Turri Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Iona Tynewydd Senior Clinical Psychologist
Dr Ashley Vanstone Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, University of Bath
Hester Viney Counsellor & trainee psychotherapist
Sandro Voi Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Katie Voss Trainee clinical psychologist Plymouth
Tony Wainwright Senior Lecturer, Clinical Psychology
Dr Alice Walker Clinical Psychologist
Professor Mike Wang Chair, signing on behalf of Association of Clinical Psychologists UK
Dr Warrilow Clinical Psychologist
Dr Dawn Washington Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist
Ashley Watson Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Dr Katie Watts CBT Therapist and Health Psychologist
Vicki Weare Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Sarah Webster Assistant Psychologist
Sheeva Weil Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Hertfordshire
Louise Weissel Occupational Therapist & Access Consultant
Nikki Werker CT1 Psychiatry
Dr Clive Weston Clinical psychologist
Dale Whetter Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Richard Whitehead Consultant Psychologist
Rainbow Evelyn Wilcox Educational Mental Health Practitioner
Claire Willsher Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist
Nicky Wilson GP
Dr Eric Windgassen Consultant Psychiatrist (retired)
Marion Winslow, M.A. Psychotherapist
Dr Mel Wood NHS Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr Hannah Wright Clinical Psychologist
Dr Matthew Yates Clinical Psychologist
Simon Youdan Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Dr Shuo Zhang Child and adolescent psychiatry trainee
Sally Zlotowitz Clinical and Community Psychologist