Warwickshire in support of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week

Warwickshire County Council’s Smart Start programme is supporting Infant Mental Health Awareness Week which runs from 12-16 June. The week will focus on the mental health and wellbeing of babies in their first 1001 critical days – from conception to 2 years.

A child’s mental health and wellbeing is determined, to a large extent, by the positive relationship formed between them and their parent/s, which starts in the womb. The baby’s early relationship with their carer/s has an important influence on different aspects of their future development, emotional resilience, ability to form other relationships, their school performance and life chances.

Being a parent is not easy. If parents experience difficulties and feel depressed or anxious in the early period of their baby’s life, this may have an impact on their ability to respond to their child’s feelings and needs. So supporting parents and carers to maintain good mental health is extremely important for both the parent and the baby.

A Warwickshire Smart Start workshop held on 23 May 2017 brought together a wide range of agencies and representatives from Warwickshire County Council, NHS, education, third sector and communities to hear from experts in the field of infant mental health and to look at ways of building and strengthening parent-infant mental health and wellbeing support in Warwickshire.

People who attended the workshop commented:

“Thank you for organising this valuable event which is leading the future for parent-infant mental health in Warwickshire.”

“A great event and perfect opportunity to meet people in the field.”

“The event was incredibly informative and expertly delivered.”

The outcomes from this event included the need to set up a strategic partnership that will lead on parent-infant mental health in Warwickshire, the need to tackle the stigma of parental mental health issues and parents’ fears of seeking early help and the need to increase training and support for people working with expectant and new families.

Dr John Linnane, Director of Public Health said “Promoting parent-infant mental health and wellbeing is a priority in Warwickshire. We know that by the time children reach 14 years of age, 50% of them are already experiencing mental health issues. We need to act early – during the first 1001 critical days of a child’s life – in order to give them the best start in life.”

If you want to know more about the different support available to parents in Warwickshire, please visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fis .

If you’re feeling anxious or low, there’s help available: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/mentalhealth .

For more information on the Smart Start programme and to view a video about the parent-infant mental health support workshop, please visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/smartstart , email smartstart@warwickshire.gov.uk or call 01926 413788.