A CHARITY aims to improve emotional health of parents and children in South Gloucestershire.

Home Start’s new priority uses their experience of supporting struggling families to focus attention on improving their clients’ mental health.

This has been initiated following their findings that last year 83 per cent of the isolated parents they helped were experiencing mental health problems.

The charity’s trained volunteers currently visit families - who have at least one child under age five - twice a week, and have supported more than 130 struggling families in the last year.

However, they are employing a family support worker and providing additional training to volunteers and staff on mental health issues to assist the new approach.

Manager Beverley Symonds said: “We work alongside families, encouraging them and helping them to build confidence. This type of support benefits both children and parents by increasing their sense of wellbeing and ability to manage.”

She explained that the impact of depression and anxiety, if coupled with isolation, can be a vicious circle for members of the community to escape without support.

Beverley added: “Of 182 Bristol families supported recently over 94 per cent felt better able to cope as a result of this support.”

To find out more about the charity visit www.homestartbristol.org.uk or call 0117 950 1170.