The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to triple tax for social media firms to fund a dedicated mental health professional in every school in England.
The proposal, which will be debated among delegates at the autumn conference in Bournemouth, would see the 2% digital services levy raised to 6%, the party says.
This would provide funding for a mental health worker to be placed in 22,000 state schools across England, it claims.
It comes as party health spokesperson Daisy Cooper warned mental health has “dropped off the political radar” as she introduces a wider package of proposals, including regular check-ups on the NHS for those at risk.
So-called mental health MOT checks would be offered to men in their 40s, women who have recently given birth and people in retirement under party plans.
Lib Dem education and children’s spokeswoman Munira Wilson said: “Young people are facing a mental health emergency and we need to act now to tackle it.
“Both the pandemic and the rise of social media have done enormous damage to children’s mental health. Conservative ministers have completely failed to grasp the scale of this crisis. They have neglected young people and let them down again and again.”
The Lib Dems are zeroing in on traditionally Conservative seats in southern England in the run-up to a general election expected next year.
Despite its focus on health and the environment, which the party believes is crucial to win over voters in Tory heartlands, questions have persisted over national issues like its stance on Brexit.
Sir Ed Davey has said returning to the EU is not on the table in the immediate future, but that the party would ultimately seek “root-and-branch” reform of Britain’s current relationship with Brussels.
“I’m worried that when parties talk about tinkering around the edges, they’re not really advocating the root-and-branch reform that Liberal Democrats believe is important to rebuild our relationship with Europe,” he said.