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Mental illness can affect a mother’s ability to bond with her baby and be sensitively attuned to the baby’s emotions and needs. This in turn affects the baby’s ability to develop a secure attachment; having long term implications for their mental health in adolescence and adulthood.

 

Advances in neuroscience and developments in research have highlighted the need for identification and support for maternal mental illness during the antenatal period. The National Service Specification and Healthy Child Programme identifies the role of the health visitor with regard to detection, screening and assessment for perinatal mental illness for all women, from the antenatal period to infant’s first year of life. It is essential that health visitors are competent in their ability to detect and assess maternal mental illness; offering appropriate support and evidence-based intervention to improve the outcomes for infant, mothers and their families.

Access our exciting  Perinatal Mental Health Champions training package

Access our exciting Perinatal Mental Health Awareness training package

See the full Department of Health High Impact Area guidance for Maternal Mental Health here

Dr Jane Hanley, senior lecturer at Swansea University talking about the importance of maternal mental health and the unique position health visitors are in to support the whole family.

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