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Financial worries put a heavy strain on vulnerable families

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The pressure of recent months on many families’ private finances is now affecting some families so violently that many already vulnerable parents are at risk of developing depression. This is according to a new study from the Danish Red Cross.

Parents in vulnerable families have concerns, feel anxiety and shame and have a bad night’s sleep as a result of a pressing economy. This is according to Ziga Friberg, head of family activities at the Danish Red Cross, on the basis of a brand new study that the organization has just published.

In the survey, the Red Cross asked parents from vulnerable families with children in Denmark about recent months’ inflation and price increases and about their well-being, and it shows that almost every second (49%) of the parents in the survey are at high risk of depression or stress. Almost half of the parents thus have a well-being score that is so low that the National Board of Health recommends that you consider seeking help from a doctor.

-“These are very stark figures that show how stressed the families are, and it also shows that it is those who already had a hard time who are paying the highest price in the current crisis”, says Ziga Friberg, head of Red Cross’ family activities.

Limits the children’s social life

After months of inflation and large price increases, the parents now find it so difficult to get the finances together that they have to save on both food, necessary clothes and medicine for their children and have to say no to the children’s social activities because there is no money for that. This leads to great psychological strain.

More than half of the families (56%) with children between 6-16 years of age answer that the children have refrained from participating in social events because they could not afford it. Of the families where the children have refrained from participating in social events due to finances, 75% of the parents answer that it is due to price increases on groceries, electricity and heating, and 21% answer ‘partly’.

-“Many parents express that they are very emotionally affected by having to limit their children’s social life. And the study consistently shows that both children and parents are greatly affected by the great financial worries they have, which is shown by the fact that they sleep badly, are sad, have anxiety attacks, lose weight and freeze. And on top of that comes a feeling of shame on the part of the parents about not being able to meet the children’s basic needs”, says Ziga Friberg.

Feeling lonely

Both limited finances, the worries and shame about it also mean that many families isolate themselves. The survey shows that 50% of parents experience severe loneliness. In comparison, 12% of the population experienced severe loneliness in 2021. -“Families are under severe financial pressure, while they are also under pressure mentally and socially. Too many people are slipping out of the communities and have neither the energy nor the finances to participate. Loneliness degrades people’s well-being and increases the risk of a number of both physical and mental disorders, so it is a vicious spiral. Families need help here and now, but there is also a need for more long-term and sustainable solutions. We hope this will happen with the new government’s focus on children and young people’s mental well-being and future opportunities,” says Ziga Friberg.

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