As Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close, we take the chance to celebrate conversation and acknowledge that parenting is hard and support is essential. Children will thrive when parents thrive first. Yet, research suggests that whilst 90 per cent of parents believe that looking after their mental health is important for the health and happiness of their children, they are still likely to put the needs of their children before their own.
Imagine what this might look like in families facing disadvantage… where putting your children’s needs before your own could mean missing meals or getting ill in winter because your Universal Credit has paid for school uniform rather than heating. How might this affect the mental well-being of a mum, dad or carer, and, in turn, their ability to parent with confidence?
Then add a pandemic. Poverty (and its impact on mental health) coupled with Covid-19 and the isolation of parents and children in lockdown has resulted is a rising tide of need amongst families facing adversity.
Our early intervention parenting programme aims to equip parents with the tools to be confident in their parenting and consequently improve their well-being, as we know both of these are key to bringing about change in family functioning and child behaviour. Small groups led by trained peer facilitators offer parents a space so share their experiences and learn from one another as they work through our relational, evidence-informed booklets.
Our volunteer facilitators are committed to supporting Kids Matter parents as they build friendships with other parents and carers, because parenting in community is so much easier. Loneliness can cause anxiety, depression and sleep problems, which often causes more loneliness – it’s a snowball effect. We want our parents to feel well and to do well in spite of their challenges, for their own sake as well as the well-being of their children.
Together, we can build a future where every child in need is raised in a strong family. To get involved, as a volunteer or by financially supporting our programme, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.