THE schools minister has responded to a parliamentary debate to help children with their mental health – set up in memory of Brianna Ghey.

The debate was held in the Hall of Westminster yesterday, Wednesday, having been secured by Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols.

Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, was present for the debate on mindfulness in schools – the aim of her Peace in Mind project set up in partnership with the Warrington Guardian.

More than £50,000 has already been raised to ensure a teacher in each school in Warrington is trained in mindfulness to assist pupils with their mental health and wellbeing.

It comes following the shocking murder of 16-year-old Birchwood schoolgirl Brianna in Culcheth Linear Park in February last year.

Speaking during the debate, Ms Nichols said: “The Peace in Mind campaign, working with the Warrington Guardian and with the support of our community, has fundraised over £50,000 since September to bring mindfulness into schools in Warrington.

“Today, our ask is that the Government commit to bringing that into all schools.

“That ask sits within the wider national context of a mental health crisis facing our young people, and an NHS ill-equipped to meet the demand.

“Mindfulness in schools is about introducing children to skills as early as possible to support their lifelong wellbeing.

“We are seeing a generation of children who lack empathy, lack resilience and for whom mental health problems have become part of everyday life.

“Anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation have become part of our teenagers’ vocabulary.

“It is an unforgiving world full of trolls, hate and vitriol. It is a world we cannot remove or escape, so we need to make sure our young people are equipped to deal with it.”

Ms Nichols said that this practice should start in primary school, as developing those skills very early on in a person’s life can set them up to have those skills through their life.

Following the debate, schools minister Damian Hinds said: “Esther Ghey’s ambition to promote empathy, compassion and resilience through the Peace in Mind campaign is one we can and do all commend.

“There are few things more critical than the happiness of our children.

“The Government actively explored approaches that could improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing, such as mindfulness interventions.”

Mr Hinds added: “There is evidence of the benefits of mindfulness, and I know many schools will feel a positive impact on their students from programmes like the one provided by the Mindfulness in Schools Project.

“We should also remember that it might not be right for everyone – for every school or every individual within a school.

“Schools should retain flexibility to choose the interventions that suit their pupils and their own local context, supported by high-quality evidence and guidance.”

Mr Hinds said the Government is offering all state schools and colleges a grant to train a senior mental health lead by next year, noting more than 14,400 have claimed such funding so far.

For more information about the Peace in Mind campaign, or to donate, visit