The Children’s Society (2024) reports that:

  • 1 in 6 children aged 5-16 are likely to have a mental health problem.
  • 17 to 23 year old women are the most at risk group of developing a mental health problem.


There are various things parents and carers can do to support their children.

The NHS recommends:

  1. Listening – regularly ask them how they are.
  2. Supporting them through any difficulties by working through feelings and experiences.
  3. Encouraging their interests. What makes them happy?
  4. Staying involved in their lives by showing an interest in what’s important to them.
  5. Taking what they say seriously by understanding and validating their emotions.
  6. Building positive routines around healthy habits, sleep, and exercise.

Talking about mental health with children can be difficult but it is important to:

  1. Encourage them to speak with you or another trusted adult.
  2. Create an open, safe, and comfortable environment.
  3. Use the right language.


The NSPCC state that common warning signs of mental health issues are:

  • sudden mood and behaviour changes
  • self-harming
  • unexplained physical changes, such as weight loss or gain
  • sudden poor academic behaviour or performance
  • sleeping problems
  • changes in social habits, such as withdrawal or avoidance of friends and family.


Looking after your own mental health and wellbeing is one of the best ways to support your children. This is because you are presenting the best version of yourself. However, it isn’t always straightforward as there are different issues you may be experiencing such as stress at work, financial worries, or relationship breakdown. We recognise that caring for a child can be tough at times, so it is vital that you are aware of what help is out there both for you, and your child.  A good source of information is Young Minds, who not only support children/young people but also provide information, advice and support to parents and carers (with a child/young person aged 25 or under).

You can speak to them over the phone or online. You will speak to a trained advisor, who will ask questions about the child/young person you are calling about. They will then:

  • Listen to your concerns and offer emotional support.
  • Provide practical advice about what to do next.
  • Follow up with you by email, providing you with resources and services that may be able to help.
  • Keep your call confidential.

 Key points:

  • Look after yourself.
  • Ask children how they are – take on board their feelings and any concerns.
  • Look out for changes in behaviour, appearance, or interests.
  • Encourage healthy habits and structure, e.g. regular exercise.
  • Participate in activities together.