'Don't let go of my hand' the NSPCC launches new online support for parents and their poem sums parenting up in 30 seconds - and hits hard

The NSPCC launches a campaign to support parents as three in four are anxious about their child's mental health, a new study shows

mother holding daughter who looks anxious
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The NSPCC has released a hard-hitting advert that perfectly captures every stage of parenting as it launches its new online support portal for parents.

If you're worrying about how to teach children emotional intelligence or it feels like your teenager is tuning you out, the children's charity has refreshed its advice for parents to help with many of the everyday challenges faced when raising children.

It comes as a new survey, commissioned by the NSPCC and conducted by Savanta, reveals three in four (75 per cent) of UK parents with children under five are anxious about their child's emotional and mental well-being and calls to the NSPCC helpline from concerned adults increased by 21 per cent last year - it received 2,499 child welfare calls about child mental and emotional health between April 2023 and December 2023 with 2,059 recorded the year before.

It also found that the majority of parents (57 per cent) think parenting is harder now than it was when they were growing up.

Helen Westerman, Head of Local Campaigns at the NSPCC, said: “It’s not easy for children growing up today, with a cost-of-living crisis, emerging online threats and increasing worries about mental health. Our polling of UK parents found that they are particularly anxious about their children’s mental health. Three in four parents with children under five said they were worried about their child’s emotional health and mental wellbeing.

Helen Westerman NSPCC
Helen Westerman

As Campaigns manager at the NSPCC for the last 10 years, Helen has designed and delivered local safeguarding campaigns across the North of England. Before this, Helen worked as Director of User and Carer Involvement at the mental health charity Rethink.

She continued, “As a parent, you always want your child to be happy and healthy. The most important thing they can do is to reassure a child, not judge them for how they’re feeling and be patient. Remind them that they're not alone, that you are here to help them, and that there are ways to cope and feel better.

“For very young children, skin-to-skin contact, smiling, play and warmth go a long way. They understand the world based on how you interact with them. If your interactions are positive, it’ll support a positive view of the world as they grow up.

“We know that being a parent isn’t always easy. One day all's calm, the next it can be chaos. That’s why we’ve launched our new campaign and refreshed parenting advice on our website, to offer advice and support for parents and carers on how to navigate the good, the bad and the baffling.”

These statistics show that children’s emotional and mental well-being is especially worrying for parents with children under five. Parents with very young children are thirsty for information about infant mental health and support with early childhood development which is why it is so important that free, expert advice is available online.

Other findings of the NSPCC survey

  • More than two-thirds (67 per cent) also cited learning development as a cause for concern
  • For parents of six to 11-year-olds, 56 per cent said they were anxious about their child’s mental health and 47 per cent of parents of children between 12 - 17 also expressed the same concern.
  • Many parents say they do not always know where to go for expert support, with half (53 per cent) relying on advice from family members and two in five (41 per cent) relying on friends.
  • More than twice as many parents think growing up is harder for girls (28 per cent) than boys (12 per cent).

The NSPCC has launched a national TV ad campaign, in which actor T’Nia Miller, star of Years and Years, The Haunting of Bly Manor and Sex Education, reads a poem all about the many anxieties of parenthood. The 60-second video is called ‘Not Letting Go’ and includes a graphic series of stills and animations from award-winning artist Martina Lang.

T’Nia Miller said, “It was such an honour to be a very small part of the really important work that the NSPCC does. When I first read the poem I was so moved and as a parent of two I related in many ways. Parenting isn’t easy. It’s the hardest job on earth - so we must start with parents so that children can grow and flourish."

You can watch its new campaign advert below...

Everyone has a role to play to look after each other and keep children safe. From members of the community supporting families in their area, to local services and the Government offering crucial support for new parents. The NSPCC knows that being a parent is not easy. That is why the charity want all parents to know that everyone has options, and the NSPCC is always there when it comes to help keep children safe and healthy on the phone and online.

NSPCC Ambassador Anna Williamson said: “We live in a world where parents feel more anxious than ever which is why I’m so proud to support this campaign that is all about giving them free, non-judgement expert advice. As a mum myself, I too have worried about the impact of things like bullying, mental wellbeing and social media on my children so it’s great to see charities like the NSPCC taking positive steps to help give parents the tools they need to navigate tricky topics together.”

Visit the NSPCC for helpful expert parenting advice: www.NSPCC.org.uk/parenting/

In other family news, ‘What worries me about becoming a teenager…’ – watch this insightful video from a kid on what he’s dreading about growing up (no, you’re crying) and how to respond when your kid says ‘I hate you’ – and 3 ways to understand how they’re really feeling.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)