Alliance responds to Anna Freud Centre survey on Under 5 mental health

The Anna Freud Centre has released the results of a survey it carried out at the end of 2020, which looked at early years providers' experiences in relation to the mental health needs of the children they worked with.The report is available here: https://www.annafreud.org/insights/news/2021/02/from-trauma-to-bereavement-to-domestic-abuse-the-majority-of-nursery-workers-are-encountering-children-facing-extremely-challenging-and-complex-backgrounds-and-many-feel-under-prepared-for-the-task/

Commenting, Neil Leitch, Early Years Alliance chief executive, said:

"This report rightly highlights the crucial role that early years workers play in supporting our youngest children, especially those who are facing challenges that no one, at any age, should have to face.

"We know that practitioners are a source of unwavering emotional safety and security for children, but undoubtedly the level of responsibility when it comes to supporting and safeguarding children can itself take a huge emotional toll on those working in the early years. It is therefore vital that the sector is supported both practically and financially to ensure practitioners are not under undue pressure themselves, and that they have access to the tools and training needed to provide the vital care so many children need.

"With a whole range of issues arising from the pandemic, from the increase in families struggling with bereavement or trauma, to a reduction in other community support, this is absolutely the right time to invest in providers' training and wellbeing. We urge the government to carefully consider the findings of this report and to make sure that practitioners feel not only confident in their understanding of early years mental health, but also able to protect their own emotional wellbeing, as well as that of the children in their care."