Home-Start Royston & South Cambs highlights impact of stress on families for Mental Health Awareness Week

This years awareness week focus is stress'. Picture: Getty Images (stock)

This years awareness week focus is stress'. Picture: Getty Images (stock) - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Royston and South Cambs family support charity has highlighted the importance of raising the profile of mental health and the difficulties stress can bring to families for Mental Health Awareness Week.

This year’s awareness week focus is ‘stress’ and Home-Start Royston & South Cambridgeshire has told the Crow that, over the last three years, 79 per cent of families on their books had identified a support need around the mental health of a parent – and 49 per cent also needed similar support for their children.

A spokeswoman told the Crow: “Families that are referred to us are subjected to stress that is so significant it is impacting on their ability to manage different aspects of their lives.

“Bringing up children is challenging at the best of times, but extenuating circumstances can make challenges seem insurmountable.

“And in this age of social media, you can be bombarded with sometimes out-of-context stories detailing the fantastic lives and successes of your contemporaries – it’s easy to see how this can add further stress to families that are already feeling under pressure.”

HSRSC told the Crow about Debbie, a mum of 18-month-old daughter who contacted the charity while struggling with depression and anxiety that left her housebound.

The spokeswoman said: “Debbie had moved into the area away from her abusive partner and was feeling very isolated as she had no family or friends to give her support.

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“Her anxiety and inability to go out further exacerbated feelings of ‘not being good enough’ and ‘not able to cope’.

“Our volunteer visited the house weekly and, over the next nine months, built up a trusting relationship.”

Gradually, Debbie felt she was able to cope better as a parent and also able to go out with Tia. This then developed to the volunteer supporting Debbie to go to a toddler group with Tia and meet other parents.

Debbie’s confidence continued to increase and she was able to enrol Tia in a local pre-school, where Tia’s confidence and language developed quickly.

“Towards the end of our support Debbie still had struggles with depression and anxiety, but she has said that she is coping much better and feels more positive for the future,” said the spokeswoman.

*Names have been changed to protect their identities.

For more on the charity go to www.hsrsc.org.uk.