With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, mental health difficulties have become more common in infants and children, creating an unprecedented demand for specialist support services. Unfortunately, more than half of Australian children with poor mental health are not receiving professional help, and seven out of ten parents are not confident they could recognise the signs of mental health difficulties in their child.
Emerging Minds Families offers free and easily accessible resources, including videos, fact sheets, web articles, and podcasts, to equip parents and caregivers with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to support children’s mental health at home or while waiting to access specialist support services. The range of family-focused and practical resources has been developed in partnership with Australian parents, families, and professionals to help adults who want to support their children’s mental health but may not be sure how.
For over 20 years, Emerging Minds has been building awareness of infant and child mental health in the community and amongst professionals who work with families. Emerging Minds Families has been developed at a time of unprecedented demand for specialist support services. According to Emerging Minds Director Brad Morgan, mental health literacy in Australia remains low overall, and by empowering adults with trusted, practical resources, Emerging Minds Families will strengthen resilience and change the mental health trajectory of future generations.
Dr. Michaela Baulderstone, a general practitioner with an interest in child health and wellbeing, contributed to the development of Emerging Minds Families resources. She emphasises that families are under stresses and strains from the impacts of the pandemic on family life, child-care and schooling, and parental work insecurity. She sees concerned parents in her practice who are witnessing behavioural changes in their children and are unsure how to help them. The Emerging Minds Families resources are designed to provide help for families, with information and strategies parents can choose to use straight away to support their children.
The resources cover a range of practical strategies to support children’s mental health, including anxiety, supporting children through natural disasters, supporting parents and infants in the first year, and parenting when a parent experiences mental health challenges. The resources are intended to help families understand what good mental health is and isn’t, how to support children day-to-day and when difficulties emerge, and identifying when and how to access professional support. They are also designed to improve confidence for professionals, who are one of the key supports parents turn to when they have concerns about infant and child mental health.
Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, the Hon Emma McBride MP, says it is vital for parents and carers and their children to have the support they need. She applauds Emerging Minds Families as an initiative that will help parents and caregivers recognize and respond to the mental health challenges faced by their children.
Emerging Minds Families resources are FREE and can be accessed at emergingminds.com.au/families. By using these resources, parents and caregivers can make a positive impact on their child’s mental health and wellbeing, even in challenging times.