Friday, 22 Jan 2021

Kate’s heartbreak at lockdown loneliness as Duchess notes grim new coronavirus statistics

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Kate has been the driving force behind a new early years report which features a number of pivotal studies into a child’s first five years. The research, which produced five key insights, shows the coronavirus pandemic has caused parental loneliness to almost double.

The research found parental loneliness stood at 38 percent before the coronavirus crisis but has since risen to 63 percent, as parents have been cut off from friends and family due to lockdown restrictions.

Parents in the most deprived areas were more than twice as likely to say they feel lonely “often or always” (13 percent) as those in the least deprived parts of the country (five percent).

The statistics were provided after the first national lockdown.

Discussing the new figures, the Duchess of Cambridge said: “You have told us just how much you value the support of friends and family.

“But for much of this year we’ve been separated from the people that so many of us rely on.

“Parental loneliness has increased from 38 percent before the pandemic to 63 percent during it.

“And sadly, there’s also been a rise in the number of people who are uncomfortable seeking help.”

The study also found that parents are now twice as likely to feel uncomfortable for asking help.

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A third (34 percent) of parents said they felt uncomfortable seeking help and support for how they were feeling, compared with 18 percent who said this before the outbreak.

The research also shone a light on a number of other areas.

It found that while 90 percent see parental mental health and wellbeing as critical to a child’s development, only 10 percent of parents took time to look after themselves when they prepared for the arrival of their baby.

The study was conducted by Ipsos MORI and included the Royal Foundation’s “five big questions on the under-fives” poll which attracted more than half-a-million participants, the largest-ever response to a survey of its kind.

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The 57-page report found that just one in four people recognise the key importance of the first five years of a child’s life – something the Duchess wants to change.

Kate warns that poor care during the first five years of a child’s life can result in family breakdown, addiction and homelessness.

She delivered a passionate speech yesterday, calling for early years development of children to be viewed on the same level as “other great social challenges and opportunities of our time”.

The Duchess said the “social cost” of late intervention had been estimated at more than £17 billion a year, for young people who needed support for problems which might have been prevented when they were children.

The research has been hailed a “milestone moment” for Kate, and will be used to shape her future focus on early years development.

The survey aims to encourage a nationwide conversation on the subject and raise awareness of how the first five years of a child’s life will impact the next 50 years.

Scientific consensus shows it is considered the most pivotal age for development, future health and happiness, compared with any other single period, the report says.

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