'Missed opportunities' is a review of recent evidence into children and young people’s mental health. Written in June 2016 by Lorraine Khan, the report suggests that although the most common childhood mental health problems can be treated effectively when early intervention is provided, there are often delays in accessing support.
Sometimes challenging life circumstances such as domestic abuse, low self-esteem, lack of a close support network and mental or physical health difficulties can make it impossible for parents to seek help. Parents may feel that they will be judged, and asking for help can make them feel like they are failing.
A Home-Start volunteer can provide a lifeline enabling families to overcome these difficulties and fears, and access the support that they need, reducing the delays. By visiting families on a regular basis, in their own homes, volunteers build up trusting relationships with parents and children.
A volunteer may offer support with:
•Managing children’s behaviour
•Bonding and attachment
•Being able to prioritise time for each child
•Helping a family feel more embedded in their local community
•Establishing routines at home around after school or bedtime
•Feeling more confident to engage with other services
Although for every family their Home-Start journey is different, for most families the non-judgmental support they receive from their volunteer leads to parents feeling empowered. Last year families told us that:
82% of parents said they no longer felt isolated
85% of parents felt more able to engage in their child's learning and development
95% of parents felt more on top of their own mental health
At a time when childhood mental health problems are common among young people, affecting one in ten, or an average of three in every classroom, it is reassuring to know that this vital early preventative support that Home-Start provides is happening in our local community, improving outcomes for our local families.
With the annual cost of family breakdown estimated to be at £44 billion, Home-Start’s cost of £1,500 to support a family for a year is proven to be very good value for money.