Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Children's Mental Wellbeing Tops List of Concerns

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Children's Mental Wellbeing Tops List of Concerns

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Metcalfe Reporter

PARENTS in Newcastle worry more about their children's mental health than any other issue, according to figures revealed today.

The problem has been labelled a 'ticking timebomb' by one union offi-cial as a poll from the charity Action for Children poll, published today, reveals almost 40% of parents in the North East worry about their children's mental health - with 47% of mothers, and 32% of fathers voicing concerns.

Concerns about childhood obesity and serious illness dropped into second and third place respectively, the YouGov figures show.

Leading figures within the charity have urged a rethink on spending in a bid to tackle the growing problem, and they have argued early intervention and services such as Sure Start are vital in addressing the problem.

John Egan, Action for Children's operational director of children's services in the North East, said: "It's clear that many parents are worried about their children's emotional wellbeing and mental health.

"Help is available, our children's centres provide a place for families to go where children can play and make friends in an environment that promotes emotional wellbeing.

"We have seen for ourselves how giving children and their families the right support early can make a difference to their lives and help them reach their potential.

"Spending time and money preventing a problem rather than repairing the damage is the right and logical thing to do.

"With councils facing reduced funds, we are calling for a shift in funding towards early support to help prevent concerns or issues from becoming major problems."

The figures have emerged as Newcastle City Council plans to shave PS5m from the cost of run-ning Sure Start centres by 2016 as part of a biting package of cuts.

Paul Gilroy, secretary of Unison's Newcastle branch, said: "This is a potential ticking time bomb. …

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