In the age of rolling news, it is all but impossible for parents to shield their children from alarming world events, a survey conducted earlier this month shows the impact this is having on their wellbeing.
The survey was conducted by YouGov for the Mental Health Foundation using a sample group of 1800 parents with children aged between 5 and 18.
Amongst the things parents said their children were worried about were nuclear war (23%), the Trump presidency (33%) and global warming (32%). A quarter of the parents polled said their children had sought reassurance over issues relating to news stories and 4 in 10 said they felt their children were more anxious. Out of these 13% reported their children were avoiding public transport out of the fear of being involved in a terrorist incident and 8% said they had had nightmares.
(Source: YouGov/The Mental Health Foundation)
The mental health of Britain’s young people and the state of available support services are a cause of growing concern.
Around 1 in 10 children and young people living in the UK have some form of mental health condition, 70% of whom have not received an adequate level of support. Common problems include anxiety, depression and self harm, with causes ranging from traumatic life experiences to the consequences of living in poverty.
(Source: The Mental Health Foundation)
The waiting time for child and adolescent mental health services is six to ten weeks between diagnosis and treatment, 23% referrals made by GPs and other professionals are refused.
Only 0.7% of the NHS budget is spent on mental health services for young people, even though 1 in 4 show some sign of mental ill health. Suicide is currently the most common cause of death for boys aged between 5 and 19 and the second most common for girls in the same age group. It is estimated that 1 in 12 young people gave self -harmed, although the real figure could be higher.
(Source Younger Minds)
Commenting on the findings of the survey for the Mental Health Foundation Dr Camilla Rosen said, ‘we often forget that distressing events can have a significant impact on children’s mental health'.
Adding that parents can help their children cope by showing that it is ‘OK to talk about scary things, hopefully this will give them confidence to talk about things that might be playing on their mind at other times too'.