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Health visitors should take the lead with perinatal mental health

Health visitors can ensure that all families with children receive the right care and support for their mental health

Published on 13th September 2018

Health visitors are ideally placed to take the lead on perinatal and infant mental health, The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) has said.

In its response to the consultation – Mental Health in the Long-Term Plan for the NHS - the iHV said health visitors already have perinatal and infant mental health as a priority focus.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting said it is vital "to ensure that all families get consistent, accessible, high quality care and support for their mental health during the perinatal period".

The Institute’s response includes its top three priorities in mental health:

- Resourcing health visiting services through joint commissioning which formally requires health visitors to take a specific lead for perinatal and infant mental health.

- Closing the gap between knowledge of what affects child and family mental health, and how services are commissioned and organised to implement this knowledge.

- A need to concentrate efforts to create a much wider understanding of the epidemiology of mental illness with so much of it having its origins in the very first years of life.

Dr Adams added: “Early intervention for families in the perinatal period will reduce the burden of mental illness across the life-course! We have to get that message over to politicians and policy makers, so that funding is allocated upstream and not disproportionately spent on secondary and tertiary care, fixing problems that could have been prevented from occurring in the first place.

“This submission focuses on how, with the right support from the NHS and partner organisations, health visitors can ensure that all families with children receive the right care and support for their mental health, at the right time, in the right place.”

Download iHV's response to Mental Health in the Long-Term Plan for the NHS Consultation




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