Parents Matter: The impact on parents' mental health when a child has a life-threatening illness

The case for supporting parents when a child is seriously ill

Hearing that your child has a life-threatening or terminal illness is one of the most stressful and traumatic experiences that a parent can have. The nature of life-threatening and terminal conditions in children means that the mental health of parents can be under severe strain for many months or years. It is likely that many will experience feelings of anxiety, distress, depression or even trauma.

Our new report, Parents Matter, brings to light the shared experiences of some parents and carers who have cared for a seriously ill child or young person. It considers what mental health support exists for them, what services these parents were offered, and what they themselves feel would be most helpful.

We hope this report, quite literally, opens up new conversations, and we urge health and social care commissioners to act to ensure that they are planning and funding local services to meet the mental health needs of parents in these traumatic situations.

Download full report

Download executive summary

Helpful resources