HEADWAY and The Brain Charity are supporting the launch of a new storybook to support the two and a half million children in the UK thought to be experiencing mental health complications as a result of their parents or carers suffering serious injuries.
New research has found that 58 per cent of children of the estimated 4.8 million parents or carers living with serious injuries following an accident or medical negligence experience major changes to their life, often resulting in both short and long-term mental health issues.
This can include upheaval such as missing time in education, moving to a new house to accommodate their parent’s condition, changing school, witnessing their parents separate or divorce, being looked after by other relatives or friends, or even being forced to take on carer responsibilities.
The research – conducted by Fletchers Serious Injury – showed that such events could impact a child’s mental and emotional health and wellbeing. Many suffer from shock, anxiety, anger outbursts and insomnia. Many also develop their own coping strategies to process the impact on their lives. In extreme cases, children are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
In response, the Top 100 law firm has created the book which will help to raise money for Headway and The Brain Charity, collectively helping millions of people with the practical and emotional changes a family might face following a serious injury. The book also aims to support the quarter of parents and carers living with the effects of a serious injury or medical negligence who said a resource to specifically explain to children what had happened to them would’ve helped their family.
‘Bracky Builds a New Den’ is the tale of a happy dinosaur whose life is turned upside down when their father suffers a serious injury. Aimed at 5 to 8-year-old children living in similar circumstances, the book has been developed following a period of analysis and development, which included market research, tailored professional advice from therapists, and first-hand accounts from families and children who have experienced serious injury.
Liz Bamber, Project Manager at Headway Preston and Chorley, said:
“When an adult family member suffers a brain injury, life becomes confusing for younger members of the family. Time passes slowly, and a lot of patience and explanations are needed. Sometimes relationships change, and life gets harder for a time, but eventually, after rehabilitation and support, families rebuild. This happened to my own family, so I know from personal experience that life is never the same, but that is not a bad thing.”
Adrian Denson, Chief Legal Officer at Fletchers Serious Injury, said:
“Sustaining a serious injury is a life-changing experience. Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of families to rebuild their lives following serious injury and medical negligence, and know-how such incidents can affect everything from wellbeing and relationships to career and financial security.
“Our research showed that while there’s lots of information available on how a significant, life-changing event can impact children from a scientific point of view, there is very little available to actually guide them through the practical and emotional challenges that will come along the way.
“That’s why we created this storybook. Though it seeks to explore many of the different ways young children could react to their parent or carer experiencing a serious injury, it’s important to remember that everyone’s circumstances are unique. As serious injury specialists, our priority for those affected is to support them with all the associated challenges a serious injury brings and to extend our service to their wider family and network, too.”
An ebook of ‘Bracky Builds a New Den’ is available for download, where interested parties can also offer a donation to Fletchers Serious Injury’s charity partners. There are also a variety of activity and fact sheets for younger and older children to download to help them cope with the challenges of a parent or carer suffering a serious injury.
All these materials are available via the Fletchers Serious Injury website: https://www.fletcherssolicitors.co.uk/.