As a new YouGov survey reveals over half of parents of under fives are struggling to cope Home-Start Aberdeen has launched a ‘Healthy Minds’ campaign in efforts to raise awareness and funds to support vulnerable families with young children living in Aberdeen.
The charity, which provides crucial help for struggling young families, has been responding to the growing need for emotional support. Throughout the pandemic and series of widespread lockdowns it has witnessed the growing challenges and isolation for many parents with young children and the impact this is having on families’ wellbeing.
It has now launched a ‘Healthy Minds’ campaign with the aim to raise awareness and funds so they can help more parents in need of help to deal with challenges they face. Since the start of the pandemic the charity expanded one of its projects, a weekly group called Rising Stars, which focuses on encouraging social interaction, learning and development for children and their parents.
In response to the requested needs from parents the charity started operating a further evening group – Evening Stars – directly for parents. Meeting online it provides them with a safe place to share experiences, concerns, anxieties and get support and reassurance from experienced volunteers and other parents.
Over the next three months the charity plans to shine a light on mental health, sharing supportive resources, hosting online events and encouraging people to donate or get involved in fundraising activities linked to maintaining a healthy mind. Funds raised will help the charity to continue and expand its Evening Stars project which is providing vital help to tackle mental health, anxiety, and isolation for parents.
“Parental wellbeing is paramount in order to support our children. Coronavirus has hit these families particularly hard, putting their mental health under immense strain. It’s now more important than ever that we can provide vital emotional support to parents to avoid burnout and breakdown.” said Eleanor McEwan, general manager.
Research published at the end of last year in connection with The Duchess of Cambridge’s 5 Big Questions highlighted that parental loneliness has dramatically increased during the pandemic from 38% before to 63%, as parents have been cut off from friends and family.
The increase in loneliness for parents is more apparent in the most deprived areas. Compounding this, it seems there has been a rise in the proportion of parents who feel uncomfortable seeking help for how they are feeling from 18% before the pandemic to 34% during it.
One mum who attends the Home-Start Evening Stars group said: “Honestly, at the start [of the lockdown] I was so depressed. I was stuck at home, not working, dealing with the terrible twos – it was a complete nightmare. This group has been my lifeline.”
Another mum in Aberdeen Becca Lilley who lives with her 3 year-old son said: “The lockdowns and isolation from friends, family and getting out and about for our usual routines has been really hard on my mental health. It’s been horrible and terribly hard at times, but Home-Start has really been a lifeline to Alfie and I during this time. No-one should be ashamed to ask for help.”
The charity will announce events and share activities on its website and social media channels over the coming weeks as well as having launched a JustGiving campaign appeal for donations. For more information visit www.homestartaberden.org.uk or to make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/homestartaberdeenhealthymindscampaign