Report highlights damage caused when family relationships break down.
The mental health and wellbeing of young people and parents across Scotland is being adversely affected by family conflict, according to a new report.
The report, for the Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution, found that family relationship breakdown remains the largest single cause of youth homelessness in Scotland, accounting for over half the total number of homelessness applications by young people annually.
It also revealed the devastating impact of conflict behind closed doors, which affects thousands of young people and their parents.
More than half (51%) of the young people surveyed said their mental health and wellbeing had been negatively impacted by conflict at home, with 63% of parents (63%) saying the same.
Both groups reported that arguments at home were leaving them “depressed”, “frustrated”, “exhausted”, and “angry”.
The report also highlighted the regularity of conflict at home, with 62% of parents saying it was happening at least weekly, and many young people thinking about leaving home because of it.
The report is published as Cyrenians’ SCCR holds its 10th conference, bringing together experts from across the UK to highlight how earlier intervention and prevention work can transform the lives of young people and families across Scotland.
Diane Marr, SCCR senior network and development manager, said: “In the five years since our launch, 22,275 young people applied as homeless because of relationship breakdown. That’s more than all the people at a packed out Scottish premier league football match.
“Homelessness is the extreme result of conflict, yet up and down the country families are struggling behind closed doors with arguments and fractured relationships. The devastating impact this can have on health and wellbeing, education, and life chances cannot be underestimated.
“It’s time to open the doors on family conflict. We need to start to talk publicly about how it affects our lives, both at home, and at work, and the impact on wider society. As well as what can help.
“Our work over the past five years has shown that helping young people, families and professionals to understand the neuroscience behind conflict – like how your brain develops and works and the chemicals in it affect the way you respond to the world around you – really helps. From that people can go onto learn life-long skills on how to manage stress, anxiety, and conflict, helping them both at home, school and at work.”
Minister for children and young people Maree Todd is among those attending the conference.
She said: “The SCCR continues to adopt a progressive approach to deliver easily accessible educational resources that are based on scientific evidence, for young people, their parents and carers, as well as professionals working with young people.
“The National Survey Report 2019, undertaken by the SCCR, examines important issues families are facing in relation to their relationships, conflict and mental health. The report crucially examines the needs of families, including support and mediation services and how practitioners manage conflict.”