Red Nose Day research also reveals parents are worried about children hiding their mental health struggles, a lack of available support for children, and the mental impact of the cost-of-living crisis
60% of parents are worried* about how the rising cost of living may impact theirs and their child's mental health
71% of parents don’t think that there is enough mental health support available for children
Parents Katie Piper and Charlene White, call for more open conversations with children about their mental health
Money raised will support vital life changing work in the UK and around the world, including organisations that are providing urgent support for people in Ukraine
Red Nose Day is back on Friday 18th March
Donate to Red Nose Day at www.comicrelief.com/donate
Friday 11th March: New research, released by Comic Relief for Red Nose Day, has found that almost two thirds (64%) of children in the UK rarely or never speak to their parents about their mental health. It comes despite recent statistics revealing over 400,000 children in England aged under 18 needed specialist mental health treatment between April 2021 and October 2021, an increase of 77 per cent compared to the same period in 2019****.
A Censuswide poll of 2,022 UK parents with children aged 16 and under, commissioned by Comic Relief last month, found that over half (60%) of parents surveyed admit they are worried about how the rising cost of living may impact their and their child’s mental health*. The research also found over half (54%) of parents are worried about how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted their child’s mental health*, whilst the majority of parents (71%) think there isn’t enough mental health support available for children**.
Further key findings included:
Over a quarter (28%) of parents admit they don’t know how to start a conversation with their child about their child’s mental health**, with over a third (34%) saying they wouldn’t know what to do or where to turn for advice if their child was struggling**
Just over a third (35%) of parents felt it was likely that their child would hide mental health struggles from them***, while almost half of parents surveyed (45%) said they would hide their own mental health worries from their children to prevent it negatively impacting their mental health
Despite being named 2021 Oxford Children’s Word of the Year in January 2022, a third (33%) of parents say they would struggle to explain the meaning of anxiety in a child-friendly manner**, while 30% of parents don’t feel confident that they could answer questions their child might have about it**. Meanwhile, just over a quarter (26%) admit they would struggle to identify at least two signs of anxiety in their child**
The research has been commissioned by Comic Relief for Red Nose Day, which is back on Friday 18th March, to shine a light on the importance of having conversations about mental health at home with children early on and to encourage more parents to think about approaching this important topic more often.
Samir Patel, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, said: “Talking with our children about mental health is vitally important. We are experiencing shocking, deeply worrying, daily coverage of the war on Ukraine. Parents need to be aware that their children may not be sharing the huge mental impact this is having on them. We know additional issues like the fall-out of the pandemic and families struggling with rising cost of living continue to affect the mental well-being of children and adults alike. To help address this problem, Comic Relief are funding millions of pounds worth of mental health services for young people across the UK and internationally. This Red Nose Day donations will prioritise mental health support, as well as helping people live free from poverty, violence and discrimination. This includes funding organisations that are supporting people right now in Ukraine, and on the borders."
Katie Piper, international author, inspirational speaker, TV presenter and charity founder, said: “For lots of children, the world around us right now can feel like a really scary and worrying place – in the same way it does for parents and adults too. With the challenges I’ve faced in the past around my own mental health, trying to make sure positive discussions become a part of our children’s lives from a young age is really important to me.
“We’re still very much working out the best ways to talk to them about expressing their feelings and emotions. Naturally it’s an ongoing process of knowing the best way to approach these conversations with your little ones. Ultimately though, conversations can really give them the strength and confidence to deal with anything that might come their way in the future."
Charlene White, award-winning journalist and broadcaster, said: “Like all parents, you want to be able to give your children the love and support they need, whilst letting them know that you’re always there to listen and help, which can be really hard. We’ve always tried to be very open with them and encourage them to share how they’re feeling. But having kids of different ages, you soon realise there are different ways to have those conversations, whether its during playtime, dinnertime, story time or during the school run. Naturally, there’s been so many times we’ve worried whether we’re saying or doing the right thing because it isn’t always easy. But ultimately, I’d like to think it's brought us closer as a family."
Comic Relief has been supporting children and young people’s mental health work for over 30 years, and currently supports 45 organisations in the UK and across the world – with investments currently totalling over £14.7million.
Money raised by Red Nose Day will help people in the UK and around the world live free from poverty, violence and discrimination, and support people with their mental health. Donations will also help to fund organisations providing essential support – including mental health support – for people in Ukraine affected by the terrifying conflict and the mass displacement of people in many parts of the world.
One organisation using Red Nose Day donations in the Scottish Border to support children and young people with their mental health through equestrian sport and therapy, is Stable Life.
Mags Powel, CEO of Stable Life, said: “There’s lots of young people out there who need mental health support – especially following the pandemic, which has exacerbated the whole situation – we’re seeing a lot of girls and young people coming in with higher levels of anxiety. I don’t think it’s that easy at all for some young people to talk about mental health, especially some of the older children who feel there’s still stigma attached to it.
“Through our Comic Relief funded Healing Hooves project, we incorporate ground work for the children and young people with the horse as well as a riding lesson and activities that help with anger management, communication, relationships, and managing emotions. They also have access to trainers and councillors. As they participate in the programme, we can see them become healthier, grow in self-confidence, and start to believe in themselves and what they can achieve. It’s what we’re there for, and it’s amazing to watch that change."
This year, Red Nose Day has created some resources within its early years fundraising guide designed to help teachers support the development of children’s mental health and their emotional wellbeing.
Parents and carers in need of advice on how to support children and young people with their mental health can visit https://www.comicrelief.com/support.
To donate to Red Nose Day, visit www.comicrelief.com/donate.
* ‘Very worried’ and ‘Somewhat worried’ answers combined
** ‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Somewhat agree’ answers combined
*** ‘Very likely’ and ‘Somewhat likely’ answers combined
Supporting full case study write-ups of young people who have been supported by Stable Life, is available upon request.
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About Red Nose Day 2022
Red Nose Day is back on Friday 18th March 2022 and hopes to inspire people across the UK to make a difference, no matter how big or small. This Red Nose Day, we want to remind people that they have the power to change lives
Money raised by Red Nose Day will help people in the UK and around the world live free from poverty, violence and discrimination, and support people with their mental health. This includes funding organisations that are supporting people right now in Ukraine, and those attempting to cross the border
Visit https://www.comicrelief.com/rednoseday/ or follow @ComicRelief on social media for the latest Red Nose Day content, news and information
Red Nose Day is an annual fundraising campaign run by Comic Relief
About Comic Relief
Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and around the world. Through humour and stories of hope, we have shown that people can make a massive difference
Comic Relief believes that those who are closest to the issues have the best solutions, and so works with organisations and people with direct experience of these challenges. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who support the most vulnerable people and communities in society. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with mental health problems
For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit www.comicrelief.com(opens in new window)
Comic Relief, which is the operating name of Charity Projects, is a registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland)
This survey was conducted by Censuswide of 2022 parents with children aged 16 and under. Fieldwork carried out between 17th February – 23rd February 2022
Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles