Nearly a third of parents say they would feel embarrassed if their child wanted counselling, a survey suggests.
The figures were even higher for fathers as nearly two in five (37%) reported that they would be embarrassed, compared to just 22% of mothers.
The findings, published by children’s mental health charity Place2Be, come at a time of growing attention on young people’s well-being amid the pandemic.
More than one in three (34%) parents said they felt other parents would judge them if their child needed counselling, while 29% said they would be embarrassed to seek mental health support, according to the poll.
Nearly one in six (15%) parents rated their child’s mental health as “poor” or “very poor”- and 31% said it is “worse” or “much worse” than before Covid-19.
Despite the stigma, half of parents said the pandemic has made them more likely to encourage their child to have counselling if they need it.
The survey, of more than 1,000 parents, suggests more than half (56%) think that the staff in their child’s school need more training on how to support children’s mental health and well-being.
A third do not know who is in charge of mental health and well-being at their child’s school, the poll suggests.
Place2Be is encouraging families and schools to have a conversation about mental health as part of Children’s Mental Health Week.
Catherine Roche, chief executive of Place2Be, said: “Creativity and expressing ourselves and our individuality creatively can be a great way to do this. Parents and schools play a crucial role in teaching children that it’s OK to ask for help.
“Although we’ve made progress in recent years, these results show there is still some way to go.
“We all have mental health and we need to nurture it, particularly during these challenging times.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This survey shows that parents are concerned that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their children’s mental health.
“Teachers and school leaders have also been concerned about this and have seen the effects of lockdown on their students.
“There is a significant challenge for schools moving forward to support children’s recovery and well-being and to repair any damage done to their mental health.”
– The online survey questioned 1,029 parents of children aged five to 18 between January 8-10.