Agencies across the county are striving to support both parents and families, but with the reality of long waiting lists and referral times the support is often too late and many families are at crisis point.
We aim to respond promptly providing early intervention, preventing an escalation to other services, as well as prevent an impact on behaviour which could lead to suspension, attendance issues and ultimately poor educational progress.
The pandemic has seen a dramatic rise in an already stretched mental health service within the UK with figures showing that people are waiting well over a year for talking therapies (Mind, 2021). Exact figures show that 1.54 million people were in contact with mental health services at the end of January 2022 with 1,033,561 being adults.
Current research in parental mental health impacts to children and long-term trajectories into adulthood also note consistently higher distress rates than those children who are not exposed to adverse parental mental health (Kamis, 2020). It has also been suggested that primary caregivers of children with mental health problems show disengagement from the child’s needs and harsh behaviours, which are considered as impaired parenting. These behaviours can lead to insecurity, problems in social control, self-esteem, and feelings of belonging with the child. In the family system, parents’ mental health has a direct effect on marital conflict, substance misuse and divorce adding to the child distress and anxiety (Williams and Cheadle, 2016; McFarland, 2017; Schepman et al. 2011).
By addressing the mental health of both parent and child as soon as possible the cycle can be broken before it exacerbates to a crisis point or indeed impacts on the child to the point of effecting their adulthood trajectory as evidenced by the research conducted by Kamis, 2020. This also potentially lessens the requirement for further services involvement and the burden to current waiting lists.
Further research by Haugvik, 2012 highlights that simultaneous, structured and time limited therapy for both parent and child promote change in several areas at the same time and initiates positive connections for the child whilst promoting a sense of resilience and mastery for the parent. This in turn contributes to an improved family situation and increased communication between parent and child, which is significant for the child’s psychological development. This can only have a positive impact on their adulthood trajectory as implied by Kamis, 2021.