75% of parents of children under five years old are anxious about their child’s mental health

Our new survey has revealed that 3 in 4 UK parents with children under five are anxious about their child’s emotional and mental wellbeing.


The survey shows top parenting concerns across the UK include issues such as mental health, bullying and social media use1.

The issue that parents of children and babies aged five and under were most likely to be concerned about was their child’s emotional wellbeing and/or mental health, with 75% saying it was a worry. Parents with very young children are eager for information about infant mental health and support with early childhood development which is why it is so important that free, expert advice is available online.

The survey also revealed:

  • more than two thirds of parents (67%) cited learning development as a cause for concern
  • for parents of six to 11-year-olds, 56% said they were anxious about their child’s mental health
  • 47% of parents of children between 12 - 17 also expressed the same concern
  • more than twice as many parents think growing up is harder for girls than boys2.

We know that being a parent isn’t easy. Most parents (57%) said that parenting is harder now than when they were children. Many parents say they don’t always know where to go for expert support, with half (53%) relying on advice from family members and two in five (41%) relying on friends.

That’s why we want all parents to know that everyone has options, and we’re always there when it comes to help keep children safe and healthy on the phone and online. In the last year, contacts to our Helpline from adults with concerns about children’s mental health increased by a fifth. Between April 2023 and December 2023, our Helpline dealt with 2,499 child welfare contacts about child mental and emotional health. This is a 21% increase compared to the same time frame in 20223.

Everyone has a role to play to look after each other and keep children safe. From members of the community supporting families in their area, to local services and the Government offering crucial support for new parents.  Our newly launched campaign and refreshed advice for parents is designed to help with many of the everyday challenges they face when raising children.

The new campaign, supported by TV presenter and author Anna Williamson, focuses on our refreshed parenting pages on our website which help make the expertise and guidance we offer at every stage of parenting more accessible and user-friendly. This advice covers topics around babies and toddlers, family life, friends and relationships, health and wellbeing or navigating the digital world.

“We live in a world where parents feel more anxious than ever which is why I’m so proud to support this campaign that is all about giving them free, non-judgement expert advice.

As a mum myself, I too have worried about the impact of things like bullying, mental wellbeing and social media on my children so it’s great to see charities like the NSPCC taking positive steps to help give parents the tools they need to navigate tricky topics together.”

- Anna Williamson, NSPCC Ambassador

“Parents feel so much pressure to get things ‘right’ for their children – but parenting doesn’t look the same for everyone. It’s concerning to see that many parents don’t know where to turn for expert advice which is why I’m keen to support the NSPCC’ new campaign to give straightforward tips and help for every stage of parenting.”

- Samantha Morton, Actor and Director

We’ve also launched a national TV ad campaign, featuring actor T’Nia Miller, star of Years and Years, The Haunting of Bly Manor and Sex Education, reading a poem all about the many anxieties of parenthood. The 60 second video is called ‘Not Letting Go’ and includes a graphic series of stills and animations from award-winning artist Martina Lang.

“It was such an honour to be a very small part of the really important work that the NSPCC does. When I first read the poem I was so moved and as a parent of two I related in many ways. Parenting isn’t easy. It’s the hardest job on earth - so it’s important that we start with parents so that children can grow and flourish.”

- T'Nia Miller


“Parents and carers tell us that raising their families is becoming increasingly difficult. With a cost-of-living crisis, new online threats to children and increasing mental health concerns among young people, there are a rising number of challenges in childhood today.

We know that parents can be a vital positive influence in young children’s lives. I hope that our advice will help provide easy to understand support and help parents feel less anxious as they navigate family life.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are worried about a child or your ability to help. We must all work together to ensure that our children have happy and healthy futures.

- Sir Peter Wanless, CEO at NSPCC


  1. 1. Savanta interviewed 2,016 UK parents aged 18+ online between 19th December 2023 and 4th January 2024. Data was weighted to be representative of parents by region and by UK adults by gender. Savanta is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

  2. 2. Around three in five (58%) UK parents say that it is equally difficult to grow up as either gender, however, they are more than twice as likely to say that growing up as a girl (28%) is more challenging than growing up as a boy (12%).

  3. 3. Between April 2023 and December 2023, the NSPCC Helpline dealt with 2,499 child welfare contacts about child mental and emotional health. This is a 21% increase compared to the same time frame in 2022/23 where there were 2,059 child welfare contacts about child mental and emotional health.