Recognise children whose parents have mental illness in government policy by 2021

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Our Time, the only UK charity solely supporting children and young people whose parents have a mental illness, is running a campaign called “Being Seen and Heard” — a campaign calling for recognition and support for over 2.9 million affected children[3]. These children are amongst the most vulnerable and neglected in the country, receiving little attention or support.

Children who have a parent with a mental illness are at risk of having mental health problems unless they get the right support. Research indicates that 70% risk developing mental health problems [2] with significant impact on their life chances and at huge expense to the public purse.

In an average British classroom, that equates to six children[3] per class.

Some 3 million children are projected to be at risk of developing a mental health issue by 2021. Experts say the potential cost to the UK government could amount to £180 billion. [1]

All this is preventable. Evidence indicates that low-cost, timely intervention enables young people to flourish.[4]&[5]

Our Time wants children affected by parental mental illness to be seen and heard. We are working hard to persuade politicians and policy makers in health, social services and education to include these children in mental health policy and funding plans. Please join our campaign by signing the petition below.


  1. Ernst & Young, ‘Sizing the Problem – analysis by EY,’ commissioned by Our Time (2018)
  2. Rubovits, P. C. (1996). Project CHILD: an intervention programme for psychotic mothers and their children. In Gopfert, J.Webster & MV Seeman (eds) Parental Psychiatric Disorder (2nd edition pp 161-172) New York:Cambridge University Press
  3. Children’s Commissioner Vulnerability Report 2019
  4. Welsh Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, Public Health Wales, Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, 2015
  5. Rutter, M. (1966) Children of sick parents. An environmental and psychiatric study. London: Oxford University Press.