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    Financial planning training sessions for practitioners to help parents budget for a magical Christmas and New Year

    The festive period is a time for celebrating the connections that we have with other people, and one where we reflect on how to support others who might be isolated or experiencing hardship.

    For families with young children, this is often an expensive time of year. As parents and carers, we hold both our aspirations for making the season magical for our children, as well as societal pressures when we see what other families are doing for their children. Anna Freud is working in partnership with Campaign for Learning to deliver free financial planning sessions for practitioners in January and you can sign-up via the link at the bottom of this article.

    The rise in the cost of living has impacted families across the UK and the pressures of spending can quickly become detrimental to mental health and wellbeing. Current statistics published by the Trussell Trust show that over one million families with children are receiving food parcels which is up from 835,000 last year1.

    We know that experiencing poverty is detrimental to mental health as it is a chronic stressor. Children and young people who have experienced poverty are two to three times more likely to develop mental health problems than the rest of population2.

    Furthermore, children exposed to poverty as well as parental mental health problems from 9 months of age showed increased risk of socioemotional and behavioural problems at age 143.

    As practitioners working in early years or family hub settings, it can be difficult to support families knowing that we cannot remediate the financial difficulties.

    It can also be hard for practitioners to help families feel contained in times when they feel like they have little control over their circumstances, when we are feeling the same.

    Having a sense of control over our lives is one of the most important factors in maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing. Families on low incomes are often good at managing money because they must stick to a budget. This is why families need support beyond advice around budgeting, such as leveraging services that are locally and nationally available.

    The negative impact of experiencing poverty on mental health is well-established, so at Anna Freud we wanted to be part of a project that aims to support families in practical ways. Campaign for Learning has developed Family Financial Resilience sessions for staff to deliver to families. You don’t have to have any specialist knowledge to sign up for this free training.

    The training covers topics such as ‘Turning pester power to parent power’ and ‘X marks the spot’, which helps to build a treasure map of locally available support.

    It is through our connections with others that we build positive relationships and feel supported to deal with challenges that we all face. By working with families to ensure that their basic needs are met, we are taking steps towards ensuring better mental health for children and their families.

    For more information and to sign up for the free training sessions, please click here.

    1 https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/end-year-stats/

    2 Reiss, F. (2013). Socioeconomic inequalities and mental health problems in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Social science & medicine90, 24-31.

    3 Adjei, N. K., Schlüter, D. K., Straatmann, V. S., Melis, G., Fleming, K. M., McGovern, R., ... & Taylor-Robinson, D. C. (2022). Impact of poverty and family adversity on adolescent health: a multi-trajectory analysis using the UK Millennium Cohort Study. The Lancet Regional Health–Europe13.