Infant Mental Health Awareness Week - 12 to 16 June
New parents from across Norfolk and Suffolk are being urged to look after their own mental health for the benefit of their baby during Infant Mental Health Awareness Week.
Clinicians from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) are reminding people of the importance of safeguarding their own wellbeing and the impact it can have on their children.
Anyone with increased anxiety, tearfulness, low mood or who is having suicidal thoughts following the birth of their child should speak to their midwife, health visitor or GP and ask for help at the earliest stage.
The call comes during Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 12 to 16 June and highlights the importance of a baby’s first 1001 days, starting from its conception and continuing until it reaches its second birthday.
A range of service are available to support anyone who is experiencing difficulties, including Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney and Wellbeing Suffolk, which can provide support for common issues such as depression and anxiety.
NSFT’s PIMHAT (Parent Infant Mental Health Attachment Team) offers specialist therapy and targeted mental health support to the parents of babies up the age of two who are at risk of being taken into care.
The Point 1 0-4 Team, is part of the wider Point 1 Service delivered in partnership by Ormiston Families, NSFT and youth charity MAP, provides support and therapeutic services to families from pre-birth through to pre-school.
Working across Norfolk and Waveney, the team provides help for a range of difficulties and problems, and works directly with families and alongside other services to support healthy attachments and relationships as the foundations for long term wellbeing for infants and young children.
In addition, Norfolk and Waveney’s Community Perinatal Mental Health Service has now begun supporting pregnant women and new mums with serious mental health conditions. Later this summer, NSFT will launch a similar service in Suffolk.
New parents can also log onto www.whatsthedealwith.co.uk to watch six short films which bring together a wealth of advice, including steps they can take to safeguard their own and their child’s emotional wellbeing.
They cover topics including parental wellbeing, what is Parent and Infant Mental Health Services, teenage pregnancy, early childhood development, becoming parents and attachment between parents and their children.
The films examine the importance of the relationship between a parent and their child and the impact which it can have on mental wellbeing later in life.
Dr Richard Pratt, Clinical Psychologist with NSFT, said: “Sometimes the difficulties of being a parent can be under estimated. It is a major change in someone’s life and some people can struggle and need support.
“The films are designed to provide parents with some useful information and insights whilst also showing them that they are not alone and there is help out there. This ranges from specialist mental health services, such as those provided by NSFT, to the support which is available in children’s centres and through friendship with other parents.
“The films are designed to be easy for people to access, and we hope as many parents as possible will take the time to watch them and ask for help, should they need it. That way we can ensure they get the support they need during those crucial first stages of their baby’s development, in turn laying the foundations for a healthy and happy adult life.”
• NSFT’s Wellbeing Services, which are available across Norfolk and Suffolk, can offer a range of help and advice with common mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. For more information, visit https://www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/
• For more information about the Point 1 service and the help it provides, visit http://point-1.org.uk/. To self-refer, call 0800 977 4077.
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