Worries about teenagers flood Young Minds helpline

Nearly half of parents and carers calling the Young Minds helpline about children’s mental health issues are concerned about 12- to 16-year-olds.

Of the 2,850 calls recorded in 2007-8, 46% were about this age group, compared with 26% relating to six- to 11-year-olds.

Most parents sought advice on how to manage their children’s behaviour, although 31% called about serious mental health problems.

Young Minds chief executive Sarah Brennan urged fathers to take more of an interest in their children’s psychological development after analysis showed they made up just 8% of callers. Mothers accounted for 64%.

Brennan said she hoped that by providing “early support on emotional difficulties such as challenging behaviour and family breakdown [through telephone advice] we can prevent serious mental health problems occurring”.

The helpline, which is staffed by qualified professionals, recently extended its opening hours thanks to government funding.


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