UK children are 'feeling crushed' under the pressure of adult problems according to a report by Action for Children.
The charity claims that youngsters are struggling to cope with daily life because of severe problems their parents are facing such as job losses, illnesses and family breakdowns.
Jan Leightley, Director of Children's Services at Action for Children in Wales, said, "Children are bearing the brunt of problems within families which is having catastrophic effects on their emotional health.They have to cope with problems that even adults are struggling to deal with."
More emotional support
The Red Book 2013 suggests that more than half of frontline staff in Wales alone are seeing children who need more emotional support while services are being reduced due to budget cuts.
Across the whole country, more than two-thirds of Action staff believe children's problem's have "greatly increased" in the past two years. The charity supports more than 2,000 families across 650 services in the UK and says staff are reporting a deterioration in children's mental health with a fifth (20%) reporting children needing help with self-harming and self-poisoning.
Further findings from the research show that staff are seeing children needing more support because of various issues at home:
• 66% because of parental depression
• 64% due to their parents’ unemployment problems
• 69% because of domestic abuse
• 60% because of parental mental illness
• 39% because of parental substance misuse.
Ms Leightley continued: "What’s even more worrying is that as children’s problems are deepening, the budget for vital early help they desperately need is disappearing.
"If we can’t help a child as soon as difficulties emerge, we run the risk of issues escalating out of control. This is why we urge policy makers to prioritise early intervention by investing in and incentivising long term financial planning."