Young people learn a lot from their parents and it is important for them to feel happy about discussing various issues at home. However, parents also need to feel confident themselves about sharing information with their children on more serious topics such as mental health.
A survey was recently conducted by research company Opinion Matters on the number of parents who have spoken to their children about mental health which was then distributed in November by Time to Change in support of their anti-stigma campaign.
Rather shockingly, the poll of around 1,100 parents with children aged between 6 and 18 discovered a huge 55% had never discussed the subject with their offspring.
Of the same group of parents, 45% stated they did not feel the need to raise awareness of mental health with their children and 20% claimed the reason was they did not know how to address the topic.
In addition, an entirely separate survey completed in October of this year found 62% of younger people had used a search engine to learn about depression.
These figures are incredibly alarming as over 850,000 children aged between 5 and 16 have been diagnosed with a mental illness in the UK and it is predicted one in ten young people will be affected by a mental condition at some point.
Furthermore, the large majority of children searching the internet for help is a strong indication that younger people in Britain simply aren’t being provided with enough information from either schools or parents and are, instead, using their own time and resources for education.
Opinion Matters’ study shows how it is increasingly important for parents to engage with their children about mental health. Without their support, children may feel vulnerable and isolated if they are afraid to discuss feelings with others which can only escalate the problem further.
The Need For Change
More information needs to be readily available to help educate parents on various mental health illnesses as well as being able to help them identify early signs of depression, anxiety and other conditions.
It is crucial to educate people from an early age on the effects of mental health and to ensure they are aware it is just as important as physical health and wellbeing.
Finally, parents need to initiate discussions even if their child does not seem to be concerned or at risk. Doing so will instil confidence in young people should issues arise in the future as well as establishing awareness early in their development.
Encompass Dorset provide a wide range of services designed to improve the lives of people living with enduring mental illnesses as well as learning difficulties.
To find out how we can help you or a loved one, click here.