Jeremy Hunt pledges £500k to improve helpline support for children affected by alcoholism

Posted on Dec 24 2017 - 3:03pm by admin

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged the extra money to improve the availability of helpline support to children affected by alcoholism after we highlighted cases where children as young as five were calling in to be comforted by fairy tales.

He will also create a Children of Alcoholics Strategy after a campaign by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa), shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth and LabourMPs Liam Byrne and Caroline Flint – both children of alcoholics.

The minister is also understood to have been struck by the bravery of those who have spoken out about the lack of help when he met campaigners last week.

No local authority currently has a strategy to support the estimated 2.6 million children of alcoholics.

In February, we reported how Nacoa counsellors were being called so often by some children that they keep their favourite books by the telephone.

The small Bristol-based charity received 36,000 emails and calls last year, with volunteers providing 10,500 hours of support to children.

Its chief executive Hilary Henriques said: “Drink is one of the hidden sufferings in families and for far too long the problems experienced by the children have been ignored, fuelling their feelings of isolation and shame.”

She said of the funding: “This is absolutely fantastic news for all children of alcoholics across the country. Thank you Sunday Express.”

The cash, to be paid over three years, will mean hundreds more children will receive help and advice.

It is also hoped that the helplines will trigger support for parents and lead to many of them turning their lives around.

Research shows that having an alcoholic parent can have a longlasting and devastating impact on a child.

Children of alcoholics are twice as likely to have problems at school, three times as likely to consider suicide and five times more likely to develop an eating disorder.

They are also four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Over a third of all child serious case reviews involve a history of abuse of alcohol.

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