Sunday 22 April 2018

Mental heath care lacking

Barnardos Chief executive Fergus Finlay
Barnardos Chief executive Fergus Finlay

THE number of parents suffering mental health difficulties owing to the recession and funding cuts has surged – but families are not getting enough support for this.

A conference, 'Patients, Parents and People', organised by the charity Barnardos, heard growing concern by its project workers at the rate of stress, anxiety and depression they were seeing among parents.

Chief executive Fergus Finlay warned: "Our staff are seeing increasing instances of mental health difficulties among parents, and where it is unsupported or inadequately supported, children are affected."

He emphasised the need to take urgent action before "we inflict lasting damage on children and parents".

He added: "We can see from the example in Northern Ireland that simple steps to integrate services working across primary care, mental health services and children's services leads to better outcomes."

Hazel Larkin of See Change, a organisation working to reduce the stigma of mental illness said as a parent, the "biggest fear for any parent is that we will be threatened with having our children taken away from us."

She explained that parents in difficulty may not be able to take their children to medical appointments, cook good meals and make sure they have proper home routines.

"If a child struggles to connect with a parent, they are likely to blame themselves and internalise and draw incorrect and unnecessary conclusions about their own worth from their failure to connect."

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