A Report on 0-5 years-old children’s emotional wellbeing in Oxfordshire

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Oxfordshire undertook research into parents’ and carers’ view of understanding and support for mental health and wellbeing of pre-school children, age 0-5 in response to conversations with both parents, carers, and childcare professionals, who felt there was a gap in awareness, understanding and support for mental health and wellbeing in preschool children. They received 63 responses to their online survey of parents with an additional 16 responses to supplementary questions from childcare professionals working with this age group.

The results give a snapshot of parents and carers’ understanding about this important issue, including views on mental health, awareness of support available, and views on gaps in provision. Comments from families support the understanding that mental health and wellbeing of 0-5s is integral to wellbeing of the family as a whole.

Families highlighted need for clear signposting, central information and advice about mental health and wellbeing in 0-5s, including local services, and online support. There is scope for improving awareness of existing services and resources such as Oxfordshire Family Information Service. In addition to clear signposting, and online support, families valued face to face support from professionals, peers and childcare settings in providing a trusted source of advice, help and relationship.

Families noted that stigma, fear of being judged or not being taken seriously could act as barriers to them seeking help. In contrast, they valued support that was timely, person centred, non-judgemental, and supportive. There is room for more support, training and awareness for childcare workers, health professionals and parents on understanding and supporting mental health and wellbeing in 0-5s.

 Covid-19 has had an impact on mental health and wellbeing of both parents and young children in multiple ways- which may continue to become clear over time. Health Visitors and GPs are valued for being first point of contact for support, advice and assessment. They provide a route to express worries without feeling judged. Concern noted about impact of temporary redeployment of health visitors during Covid-19, on parents’ ability to seek support.

Unfortunately, the survey launch coincided with the Covid-19 lockdown, and as a result it has been challenging to distribute surveys and build responses, and reach seldom heard communities, as all childcare settings closed. Healthwatch Oxfordshire had also planned a focused piece of work with families at The Sunshine Centre in Banbury, Ruscote- but this has been delayed. As a result, this report does not contain recommendations, but highlights key points, which we hope will be of use to services that commission and provide support to early years children and families. Whilst not ideal, we felt that it was important to share responses here, which give insight into some of the barriers faced by parents and carers and highlight current and future mental health challenges exacerbated by Covid-19 itself.


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General details

Report title 
A Report on 0-5 years-old children’s emotional wellbeing in Oxfordshire
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Oxfordshire
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 6 January, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Sunday, 1 March, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)
Community services 
Community healthcare and nursing services

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.