Home-Start believes all our children with a parent suffering from a mental health problem should be supported.

Home-Start asks that these steps are taken to make a difference:

  • Offer every parent who is at risk of, or suffering from mental ill health or mental health problems a trained befriending volunteer.
  • Collect data on children whose parents or carers have mental health difficulties and report on such data nationally.
  • Train specialist mental health midwives for every maternity service.
“Mental health problems can be long-term and differ in intensity from one week to the next. Health and social services do not have the resources to support families where there are parental mental health issues. It is only independent services like Home-Start that can support families through these stresses.

Home-Start Stroud District

Parents’ mental ill health can have a serious impact on children’s day-to-day life and on their long-term development. It is vital that we improve our understanding of how mental illness affects all family members and that we find ways to support and help children living with a mentally ill parent. At any one time roughly one in six people are suffering from a mental illness.

It is believed that up to 30% of adults with mental ill health have dependent children and 7% live in lone parent households.

It is thought that there are 50,000 to 200,000 children and young people in the UK caring for a parent with a severe mental health problem. Research estimates that more than 2 million children, including 144,000 babies under one year old, are living with a parent who has a common mental health disorder.

Our volunteers are able to engage these particularly vulnerable families, build their trust in others and improve their resilience, leading to positive outcomes for the children. The well-being of the parents is improved in families with volunteer support. This leads to increased feelings of parental self-competence. As a result, parental behaviour becomes more adaptive and child outcomes improve - it’s a chain reaction.

To find out more download our manifesto.