The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people across Scotland is an issue of very real concern. A lack of robust research and data means we do not know whether the incidence of mental health difficulties differs between Armed Forces children and young people and their civilian peers. However, the unique experiences and potential challenges facing children and young people in Armed Forces families including high levels of mobility and parental deployment, means that their mental health and wellbeing not only merits, but requires, targeted consideration.
Children and Young People’s Voices:
The children and young people we work with have told us about the challenges they face and of the potentially negative impact this can have on their mental health and wellbeing:
- “Depressed when parent is away.”
- “Confidence down because new kid all the time – everyone staring at you.”
- “Missing Daddy, being sad all the time, people not understanding, seeing daddies with my friends, not hearing from Daddy, worried Daddy is going to die.”
We would like to see:
- Recognition of Armed Forces children and young people as a potentially vulnerable group in terms of their mental health and wellbeing and targeted consideration of their experiences and needs in policy, practice and service developments relating to mental health and wellbeing.
- No Armed Forces children or young people experiencing disadvantage in accessing mental health support and services due to belonging to an Armed Forces family.
- Collection and publication of national data to support robust consideration of the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of Armed Forces children and young people.
- Research focusing on the direct voices and experiences of Armed Forces children and young people to further our understanding of the potential impact of Armed Forces life on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.