Families increasingly turning to ParentLine Scotland to keep their children safe and well

ParentLine Scotland reveals a 12% increase in contacts, as Minister meets volunteers to learn more about how the service helps families to support children.

Contacts to ParentLine Scotland from parents, relatives and carers urgently seeking support to keep their children safe and well have increased by 12% since 2015/16.

Mental health and emotional wellbeing was one of the biggest concerns for families contacting the Scotland-wide telephone and online support service, second only to family relationships. The increase in demand is being highlighted by Children 1st, the charity that runs the service, as Scotland’s Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd meets volunteers at the ParentLine base in Edinburgh today.

Contact, residence and legal issues, children’s behaviour and concerns about children’s safety are among the other top issues that families have turned to ParentLine Scotland for support with over the last year. The Minister is visiting the service to learn more about the immediate and intensive follow up support ParentLine offers families across Scotland to help them prevent, protect and support their children to recover from adversity and trauma.

Mary Glasgow, Acting Chief Executive, Children 1st said: “Today many people live further away from their extended families and many parents and carers tell us they can feel very isolated. Some families are desperate for support because their child is at crisis point, others are living in extremely stressful situations and others want a bit of help with the everyday ups and downs of being a parent or carer.

“Last year ParentLine supported thousands of children from the Highlands and Islands to Dumfries and Galloway by supporting their families. With increasing levels of anxiety, depression and self-harm among children there is an urgent demand for additional support to help meet children and young people’s mental health needs. Through ParentLine Scotland we provide a safe space for families to talk, get help to understand their child’s world and focus on their child’s wellbeing, which is key to helping children lead safe, happy and fulfilling lives.”

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Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years said: “The Scottish Government is committed to making Scotland the best place for children to grow-up and it’s crucial that parents and carers are supported.

“I’m very pleased to visit Children 1st today to learn about the work they do and to see the work of ParentLine in action. ParentLine is a good example of a service supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of parents and carers and providing a safe space for advice on how best to support their children.

“This is important in the wider context of the Government’s focus to work across services and sectors to better prevent adverse childhood experiences, and where adversity or trauma has occurred, to reduce the negative impacts of this and support people’s resilience.”

Jackie Gallagher, ParentLine volunteer
Jackie Gallagher
Jackie Gallagher, ParentLine volunteer and supervisor said: “If a service like ParentLine had been there for my Mum, it would have made all the difference. My Mum did the best she could, but her life hadn’t worked out the way she wanted. She had nobody to talk to about it and that damaged her permanently. And that meant my childhood was sad, awful, anxious and very lonely.

“ParentLine could have helped my Mum talk about her feelings and see things differently. It would have supported her to understand what I needed as a child– the feelings of security and consistency that I never experienced. So I know how important it is for people to talk. 

“At ParentLine we listen without judgment – you don’t often get that in life. You talk to a person, someone who can help you think about how to make things better for your children and yourself. You don’t need to be a perfect parent, but when you are struggling we can help you think about where you would like to be, and how to get there.”

ParentLine Scotland is available on the phone: 08000 28 22 33 for online chat: www.parentlinescotland.org.uk by text chat: 07860 022844 and by email: parentlinescotland@children1st.org.uk  Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm. Calls are free.