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Calls to NSPCC helpline regarding parental substance use are up by 64%

Latest figures from the NSPCC helpline shows that the number of contacts from people worried about parental substance misuse is 64% higher than before the first lockdown.

This has been reported by both BBC Wales and The Herald, Scotland. 

They are calling on the government to set out investment plans for local services.

We endorse this statement from the NSPCC and join them in raising awareness about this important issue.

Our Chief Executive provided a comment for the article in The Herald. 

“We are seeing that the usual daily challenges associated with a parent or family member’s alcohol or drug problem – fear, domestic abuse, isolation, loneliness, and mental stress – are being exacerbated by the lockdown measures. A staggering 88% of the families that we surveyed in our ‘Families in Lockdown’ survey told us that the first lockdown negatively impacted on their family member’s alcohol, drug or gambling problem. A third of families experienced an increase in verbal abuse from their family member and 13% feel more concerned than usual for their safety.

As drug and alcohol misuse is so stigmatised, we know that many young people are scared to seek support, and for many children affected by parental substance use, the lockdown impedes them from the safety of the school environment. We know that with the right kind of support, children and young people can navigate this challenging time. We urge families not to wait until breaking point.”

For those parents who may find themselves turning to alcohol or drugs to cope during lockdown, we urge you to seek support and recognise that your behaviours, however discreet, will be impacting those around you. Support can be arranged through your local GP, or visit the NHS website for a database of treatment services. The charity Alcohol Change UK also has advice online about managing your drinking during lockdown.

Our message to any young people or children at home who are struggling to cope with the effects of a family member or friends’ drug or alcohol problem is that it’s not your fault and you are not alone. Talk to an adult you trust, phone one of the helplines listed below or visit our website for more information and advice. Your parent or family member does not need to be engaged with support themselves for you to reach out.

View this flyer for support links for children affected by parental substance use, and for training opportunities for professionals coming across these children. 

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