A recent survey has provided stark evidence that a majority of parents in England have never had conversations with their children about mental issues such as anxiety stress and depression.

Of the 1,100+ parents polled 55% said that these were not issues they had talked about with their offspring.

And 20% of those people freely admitted that they would have no idea how to tackle such subjects.


Increasing awareness

The study targeted parent of 6-18 year olds and is part of the Department of Health funded campaign Time to Change which is run by the charities MIND and Rethink Mental Illness.

It aim is to increase awareness at an earlier age and to remove any stigma surrounding mental health.

It may be no great surprise to hear that so many parents don’t think to discuss mental health or have no idea how to broach the subject. However more concerning perhaps is the 45% of parents who felt that there was simply no need to talk about these things because – “It was not an issue”.

Mental health problems at a young age

The campaign intself begs to differ, citing that 1-10 young people will experience a mental health problem. And even if the current generation of parents struggle with the subject, it is hoped by the campaign that the upcoming generation will change all that.

Director of Time to Change Sue Baker commented, “This has to be the generation for change. Mental health problems are a common experience for three children in every classroom”.

Other surveys have shown that up to 62% of youngsters have done a general internet search for depression.

mental health in children_2We spoke to a couple of or WatchFit Experts today who offered their thoughts…

“This is a timely study as more and more is written about mental health as it affects individuals and families. And the discovery that many homeless people and criminals have mental health diagnosis can just lead to fear that can last a lifetime. What happens when I have thoughts that are troubling? Am I one of them? What’s wrong with me? And that’s just the adult view. So what about children?

We are so lucky to be in an age when science is able to give us a different view of mental illness that transcends that fear of the unknown. Yes, there is plenty we don’t know but there is plenty that we do know and can find out easily enough. A friend of mine believes that anything she does for her children that they can do for themselves, is actually a disservice to them. In some respects this might be fair enough but in others it really doesn’t work at all. We have to help in making sense of the world in a way that is sustainable for a healthy body and mind.

“Teaching children that they are not just their thoughts (they change over time) is a wonderful gift. By modelling this, that open communication link may be made strong!”

– Dorothy Rodwell, LMFT

“My view on this is that parents are uncomfortable talking about this subject as firstly – anxiety and depression is much more common than most people realise so, statistically, some parents do not want to discuss what they feel they may be suffering from.

And the second reason, which ties in with this fact, is that a lot of parents are uncomfortable talking about how they feel about themselves and their life with their children, they feel they have to be strong and portray life in a particular way. Talk of mental health issues might be seen as weak and fragile”.

– Dean Griffiths

Connect with Expert Dorothy Rodwell & Dean Griffiths

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