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Survey shows parents’ mental health has worsened over the last two years

27 January 2022

New figures published today by youth mental health charity stem4 – founded by chartered BPS member Dr Nihara Krause – reveals that the pandemic has left 86 per cent of parents feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.

The survey of 1,028 parents and carers UK-wide – all with at least one child aged up to 18 living at home – has been published to mark Parent Mental Health Day. It shows:

  • 39 per cent are experiencing mental health difficulties, nearly 40 per cent more than at start of the pandemic, and
  • only 26 per cent are able to access the treatment they need

Factors such as the effect of lockdowns, pressures of home schooling and financial worries have played a part, with parents experiencing problems including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.    

Seventy-seven per cent of parents and carers with pre-existing mental health difficulties indicate the pandemic has made their mental health worse, with 36 per cent directly attributing this to a lack of access to mental health treatment.

Dr Krause, a consultant clinical psychologist, said it was “highly worrying” that only a quarter of parents were able or willing to access the services they needed. And at a time when children and young people’s mental health problems were at an all-time high, with services for them stretched to “breaking point”, parents were struggling, not only to balance all their responsibilities, but also having to support their child’s mental health.  

“That can be especially hard if their own mental health is compromised,” Dr Krause added. “Stem4’s Parent Mental Health Day is here to shine a light on the challenges facing so many parents and to encourage discussion around these shared issues without feeling embarrassed to do so.”

Dr Krause believes enhanced family mental health services from birth to adulthood are needed, with “a properly-funded range of child, young person and adult mental health services”.

Stem4 is the founder of Parent Mental Health Day in the UK, which has launched this year. The survey was carried out by SurveyGoo.


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