We may be more aware of our mental health, but a new poll has found that more than 55% of parents have never discussed mental health with their children. The poll was commissioned as part of a campaign which aims to help change the stigma which exists around mental health conditions, which include stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions.

 

Time to Change

The research was carried out as part of the UK’s Time to Change campaign, a UK-wide initiative run by the MIND and Rethink Mental Health charities and funded by the Department of Health, which aims to tackle the misconceptions around mental health, and change our perceptions for good. As part of the campaign, research is being commissioned, whilst advice is being offered to workplaces and families in a bid to tackle mental health perceptions in all areas of life.

 

A lack of conversation

It is estimated that 1 in 10 young people will suffer from a mental health condition, yet less than half of parents have discussed mental health with their children. Whilst 20% of parents had failed to discuss the subject with their children because they ‘didn’t know how to address the issue’, 45% claimed they had failed to do so because they did not believe it was an issue. With statistics showing that 3 children in every classroom could suffer a mental health issue, more attention is being given to focusing on raising awareness, starting in the home.

Other statistics have shown that 62% of young people had performed a search for ‘depression’ online, whilst the Children’s Commissioner of England, Anne Longfield, has said that many parents ‘did not have the confidence to go to the doctor with mental health issues’. It is hoped that through the Time to Change campaign, more can be done to understand mental health, particularly where children and young people are concerned.

 

The importance of change

Time to Change’s director, Sue Baker, has said, “This has to be the generation for change. Mental health problems are a common experience for three children in every classroom. Our research has shown that talking about mental health is still seen as too awkward for many parents and young people and we need to change that in the home, at school, on social media and in wider social circles.”

Whilst starting conversations about mental health at a younger age is one of the priorities for the campaign, there are also elements which aim to tackle perceptions of mental health in the workplace and in the media, with many ways for people to get involved. The campaign has been granted £660,000 from the Department of Health, and it is hoped that people will soon develop a deeper understanding of mental health issues and their impact.

Parents or individuals who are concerned about mental health will find plenty of resources and help available should they need it, including help from their GP. The Time to Change website also has useful resources for getting involved in the campaign as well as advice on how to talk to your children about mental health.