Only a small number of children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties receive professional help. We have been doing research to find out more about the reasons for this. Our work shows the range of barriers parents face seeking and accessing support from professionals for mental health difficulties in children and teenagers. We found that parents often feel blamed for their child’s difficulties, and it can be really hard for parents to know when it ok to ask for help, and how they can get help for their child. Our research really highlights how important it is to remove the stigma surrounding mental health difficulties, and the need to raise awareness about the support that is available, to ensure more families get the help they need.
We were really excited when the BBC invited us to come in and talk about this research. On 20th March Tessa Reardon from AnDY, together with Beckie and Luke (a family who took part in some of our previous research) were on BBC South Today and BBC Radio Berkshire. It was really fantastic to have Beckie and Luke involved, and for others to be able to hear about their experiences. Our research shows just how important it is to support (not blame) parents who ask for help, and Beckie talked about difficulties she faced asking for help when her son Luke was experiencing difficulties with anxiety.
If you would like to read more about this research, you can find our paper here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00787-016-0930-6