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Child in Mind – A Series on Child & Family Mental Health


Ground-breaking podcast series launches to help parents understand children’s mental health

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families today launches a series of expert podcasts to help parents understand and manage child and family mental health problems.

The series, Child in Mind, is presented by BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond. In each 20-minute episode, she discusses an important issue in child and family mental health with an expert and a young person or parent.

The first episode which focuses on childhood anxiety features Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology Cathy Creswell from the University of Reading, and Beckie, whose 10 year old son Luke’s anxiety caused severe difficulties in her family’s life.

Beckie said: “I’ve always wanted to be a mum. However, along with delight and satisfaction, being a mum has also unearthed feelings of frustration and self-doubt. These feelings were particularly amplified by my eldest son’s anxiety.

“This podcast is a great opportunity to share my experience with other parents so that they know that they are not alone. I hope it will help to develop knowledge and confidence for parents to help their anxious children, and build parents’ self-esteem to help them become the best parents they can be.”

Other episodes in the series focus on topics including self-harm; ADHD; eating disorders; how the adolescent brain develops and what this means for parenting; the evidence for use of medication for child and teenage mental health problems; the science behind bonding with your baby; and what we know about the impact of sexual material online.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and Patron of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said:

“One in three adults still say they would be embarrassed to seek help for their child’s mental health. No parent would fail to call the doctor if their child developed a fever, yet some children are tackling tough times without the support that can help them because the adults in their life are scared to ask. It doesn’t need to be like this.

“Throughout my work with family and child support organisations, one thing that has stood out to me time and again is that getting early support for a child who is struggling to cope is the best possible thing we can do to help our children as they grow up. Knowing this, both William and I feel very strongly that we wouldn’t hesitate to get expert support for George and Charlotte if they need it.

“I hope that this excellent series of podcasts by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families will go some way to help families overcome that fear of what happens next if they look for professional support. They illustrate that many of the therapies are actually very simple and practical steps that include the whole family to help children make sense of the world around them. They show how with the right help, children have a good chance of overcoming their issues while they are still young, and can have the bright future they deserve.

“Please do listen, and share them with your friends and family and let’s change the way we all talk to each other about our mental health.”

Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said:

“Mental health problems in children and adolescents challenge not only the young people who experience them but also the parents who love them and care for them. Parents and carers deserve all the support there is.

“This series of podcast aims to help explain and offer practical advice to parents and carers. Each podcast brings insight to parents through listening to a discussion between a service user and a professional. The conversation is expertly guided by Claudia Hammond with her exceptional skill to identify the issues of greatest importance and highlight the suggestions of greatest practical relevance.”

Speaking of the series, Claudia said: ”It can be hard to know whether information online is based on good evidence. But the beauty of this series of podcasts is that every episode is backed by academic expertise. They also contain first person experiences which any of us might identify with and often those people have the opportunity to put their questions directly to the experts. I really hope these podcasts might make life a bit easier for both young people and their parents.”

This project supports the Centre’s vision for change prioritising design and delivery of children’s mental health services wrapped around children, young people and families’ needs. Young people and parents are at the heart of this series.

One episode per month will be released, and each episode will be hosted on both the Anna Freud National Centre’s iTunes podcast channel (click subscribe to listen) and Soundcloud account.