75% of parents of young children worry for their mental health

New research shows that 3 in 4 UK parents with pre-school aged children worry about their mental health and wellbeing.

Parents of very young children are anxious about their mental health and emotional wellbeingA recent survey carried out by the NSPCC found that UK parents are anxious about their child’s mental health as well as issues such as social media use and bullying.

The issue that parents of very young children were most likely to worry about was their child’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, with 75% identifying this as a top concern.

Parents are anxious about infant mental health

Parents of babies and children aged 5 and under said they wanted more information about infant mental health and support with early childhood development.

Other key findings included:

  • Almost 7 in 10 (67%) parents identified learning development as a key concern
  • More than half of parents of 6-11 year-olds were anxious about their child’s mental health
  • Nearly half of parents (47%) of children aged 12-17 were also concerned about mental health
  • The majority of parents believe that growing up is harder for girls than boys

The survey also revealed the struggles of parenting:

  • The majority of parents (57%) said they believed parenting was harder now than when they were children
  • Most are unsure where to go to access expert support, with over half (53%) relying on advice from relatives and 4 in 10 (41%) relying on their friends for guidance

Parents were concerned about mental health, learning and development and social media useThe national children’s charity said the survey results highlight the importance of having free, expert advice readily available for parents and families.

The NSPCC said on their website that they “want all parents to know that everyone has options, and we’re always there when it comes to help keep children safe and healthy on the phone and online.”

Parents need help navigating mental health and other issues

They revealed that calls to their Helpline from adults with concerns about a child’s mental health had increased by a fifth in the last year.

Between April and December 2023 their Helpline dealt with 2,499 child welfare contacts about child mental health and emotional wellbeing. This represents a 21% increase on the same period in 2022.

The NSPCC has now refreshed its advice and guidance for parents to make their expertise even more accessible and user-friendly.

Parents need access to expert advice and support to help them navigate issues like mental healthThere are straightforward tips to help parents navigate many of the everyday challenges they face at every stage of raising children, including early parenting advice relating to sleep, crying and bonding with your baby and tips about managing family life, friends and relationships and staying safe online for older children.

They have launched an awareness campaign to promote these revamped parenting pages, which is being supported by TV presenter and author Anna Williamson.

An NSPCC Ambassador, Anna acknowledged that the parents of today “feel more anxious than ever,” and need “free, non-judgement expert advice.”

She added:

“As a mum myself, I too have worried about the impact of things like bullying, mental wellbeing and social media on my children so it’s great to see charities like the NSPCC taking positive steps to help give parents the tools they need to navigate tricky topics together.”

The CEO of the NSPCC, Sir Peter Wanless, commented:

“Parents and carers tell us that raising their families is becoming increasingly difficult. With a cost-of-living crisis, new online threats to children and increasing mental health concerns among young people, there are a rising number of challenges in childhood today.

“We know that parents can be a vital positive influence in young children’s lives. I hope that our advice will help provide easy to understand support and help parents feel less anxious as they navigate family life.

“Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are worried about a child or your ability to help. We must all work together to ensure that our children have happy and healthy futures.”

Training to help support children and young people

Anyone working with infants, children and young people need support to help them understand mental health and emotional wellbeingFirst Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider delivering courses in subjects such as health and safetyfirst aidfire safetymanual handlingfood safetymental healthhealth and social caresafeguarding and more.

They work with a large number of early years and childcare providers, as well as schools, colleges, and children’s services.

Their courses include Understanding Mental Health, Youth Mental Health First Aid, Anxiety Awareness, Self-Harm Awareness and Suicide Awareness.

A trainer from FRT says:

“Every parent wants to protect their child and ensure they feel safe, secure and happy. Often they are terrified of getting it ‘wrong’ but it’s important to recognise that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to raising children and managing family life. The important thing is to seek help, advice and support when you feel you need it and to know you’re not alone.

“Mental health training can help ensure people are aware of how to best support mental health and emotional wellbeing and provide help for those who are struggling.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.