DEMANDS for more mental health support for struggling parents with poorly children are being made by a Bolton charity, warning that Britain's mums and dads could be slipping into a 'mental health crisis'.

Spending millions on young people's mental health care could come at the cost of neglecting parents who are 'sliding into depression and suicidal thoughts', says Bolton-based charity Lagan's Foundation.

The charity, which provides respite for people with severely ill children, has slammed the government for focusing too much the "trendy" issue of young people's mental health, saying the needs of these parents are being ignored.

Carren Bell, the chief executive of Lagan's Foundation, said: “There have been a plethora of initiatives of late to support young people with issues such as depression and eating disorders, including a further £3.3 million from Government invested in 23 local community projects across England.

“I am not decrying this. But each day we are meeting parents who are leaving hospital with a very sick child and basically being told to get on with it. No wonder so many slide into depression and even suicidal thoughts.”

Ms Bell set up the charity after tragically losing her daughter Lagan to a heart condition after weeks of hospital appointments and procedures. The foundation has an army of trained volunteers who look after children for parents in need of a short rest.

But the minimal resources of charities like Lagan's Foundation, along with 'draconian' health and social care funding, mean parents desperate for a few minutes to shop, clean, go out of the house, or even eat are not getting the support they need.

“Mental health has rightly been highlighted as a national priority and potentially a destroyer of lives” concluded Carren.

“But decent services need to be provided for all – not just one group. I would even argue that within the carers dynamic, mums and dads come a second best to those looking after someone with dementia for example.

"Surely we want parents to be strong, so that they can guide their children into successful lives, rather than let them sink into despair pulling their offspring down with them?

"Let us see the carers cared for too and organisations like ours' properly funded, so that we might help all children to forge a brighter future.”