Covid Scotland: Almost half of parents have mental health problems, says charity

Almost half of parents in Scotland say they have mental heath difficulties, a survey by youth mental health charity stem4 has found.

By Elsa Maishman
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 4:55 am

Almost 90 per cent of respondents to the survey said the pandemic had left them feeling overwhelmed, unable to cope or lacking balance in their life.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent said they were not willing or able to access the treatment they needed for mental health problems.

These included anxiety, depression and stress. Almost one in five parents said they were in a “constant state of physical and emotional exhaustion”, stem4 said.

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One parent responding to the survey said: “I felt like I was being swallowed, going down a never-ending hole. Having just gone back to work after ten months of maternity leave, and then thrown into lockdown, I couldn’t cope.”

Another added: “The pandemic has affected the mental health of my 16-year-old, who struggles to leave the house and I can’t leave her alone for more than two hours. She’s still waiting for treatment and I have to work. I’m so stressed, but no-one cares.”

Parents and carers of adopted children, single parents, those on low incomes and parents of young children were all most likely to be affected.

Dr Nihara Krause, clinical psychologist and founder of the charity, called the survey results “highly worrying”, and said many parents were struggling to access support from their GP or other services.

"The consequence is that few parents are getting the help they need,” she said. “Meanwhile, children’s and young people’s mental health problems are at an all-time high, with these services stretched to breaking point and very few able to access early interventions.”

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The charity surveyed more than 1,000 people in Scotland across January 10 and 12 with a child living in the family home.

Some 45 per cent said they were experiencing mental health difficulties, compared to just under 30 per cent at the start of the pandemic.

Of these, 45 per cent said they had not asked for help, with reasons given including feeling ashamed, not wanting to make a fuss, or the fear that help would not be available.

It comes ahead of stem4’s ‘parent mental health day’ on Thursday.

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