Kids’ mental health is SW parents’ top worry

Over 40 per cent of parents in the South West worry about their children’s mental health, more than any other health issue, Action for Children reveals today.

Action for Children runs more than 200 children’s centres across the UK working with parents and young children to provide a range of support including early action to try and nip problems in the bud and stop them from reaching crisis point.

The charity has been concerned by the rise in support needed by children because of mental health and emotional wellbeing problems. Recent research by the charity found over half of their frontline services surveyed, including children’s centres, reported an increase in the level of need amongst children compared to this time last year.

Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “It’s clear that many parents are worried about their children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.

“Help is available; our children’s centres provide a place for families to go where children can play and make friends in an environment that promotes emotional wellbeing.

“We have seen for ourselves how giving children and their families the right support early can make a difference to their lives and help them reach their potential.

“Spending time and money preventing a problem rather than repairing the damage is the right and logical thing to do. With councils facing reduced funds, we are calling for a shift in funding towards early support to help prevent concerns or issues from becoming major problems.”

The poll of 184 parents in the South West found that the top three health concerns were:

  • Emotional wellbeing and mental health – 46 per cent
  • Diet and weight – 35 per cent
  • Lack of fitness and exercise – 20 per cent

Action for Children works with children and their families through activities in children’s centres to build confidence and improve families’ ability to deal with situations which range from starting school, to bereavement, unemployment and more.