Mental health support for under-fives is under the spotlight in Banbury-supported survey

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This article was originally posted in Banbury Guardian, the original article can be viewed here.

A Banbury children’s centre is putting its weight behind a survey that will hopefully result in improvements to children’s mental well-being.

The Sunshine Centre on Bretch Hill, Banbury is working with Healthwatch Oxfordshire to find out about parents’ and carers’ experiences and understanding of supporting mental health and well-being in children from birth to five-years-old.

Centre manager Jill Edge said: “The first five years of a child’s life are absolutely crucial to their development. This is the period when the brain is evolving and children gain the skills required for success throughout their life including their school years.

“What happens in these early years can have a lasting impact on a child’s mental health and well-being. The Education Policy Institute report on the Mental Health in English pre-school children 2017 show that one in eighteen two- to four-year-olds has a condition that meets diagnostic thresholds.”

Ms Edge said the centre welcomed the new survey.

“This project is an opportunity for us to work together, to raise awareness of young children’s mental health and well-being and give our children the best start in life.

“Through this work we want to hear about what mental health means to parents/carers and their children; where they go for information and support with any concerns and what that support is like. We know that emotional health and well-being is an important foundation for children in later life.”

This week Healthwatch launches the short, onlilne survey which can be found here. Responses should be submitted by May 1.

The Sunshine Centre are keen to hear from local parents who would like to be part of a focus group or tell their journey on a one to one basis. Please get in touch by calling 01295 276769 or e-mailing community@sunshinecentre.org or call in to the centre, which is next to the Bradley Arcade shops.

A final report about the findings will be published with the hope of contributing to the way support is designed and developed for families and this age group to support mental health and well-being.

The Sunshine Centre is a voluntary organisation working with children and families. It offers a nursery for youngsters aged three months to five years, ‘stay and plays’, advice, guidance, individual support; parenting programmes and it also works with survivors of domestic abuse. To find out more about The Sunshine Centre visit its Facebook page or www.sunshinecentre.org