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Fathers’ wellbeing highlighted as part of new interactive resources to better support new parents’ mental health

21st June 2021

Innovative resources to support perinatal mental health (PMH) ‘by parents and professionals – for parents and professionals’

On International Fathers’ Mental Health Day (#DadsMHDay), the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), in partnership with Dr Ranjana Das and Dr Paul Hodkinson from the University of Surrey, is delighted to announce the launch of three new ‘Factographics’ interactive resources – designed to better support the mental health of new mothers and fathers.

Mental health problems in the time around having a baby are common and, left untreated, can have significant short- and long-term impact for all members of the family. Identifying problems early and offering the right support and treatment maximises the opportunity for good outcomes for the whole family. The new resources, based on research findings by Dr Das and Dr Hodkinson on new parents’ mental health, were developed in partnership with the iHV, parents and professionals, who worked together to translate the findings into meaningful sustainable resources that can be used by parents and professionals at every local level.

The three new interactive Factographics resources to support perinatal mental health are oriented to groups or areas where we know there are unique unmet needs – namely, new fathers, mothers from British South Asian communities, and parents who had a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melita Walker, Mental Health Lead at the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“These fabulous Factographics are produced in an innovative format that is engaging to all users, and are co-produced ‘by parents and healthcare professionals for use by parents and healthcare professionals’. They highlight some of the barriers to engagement, share stories and media clips about individual experiences, and provide links to organisations and helplines. Factographics strengthen relationships between parents and professionals, they bust myths and stigma and, most importantly, they let parents know that they are not alone and that there is help – they offer parents a sense of hope.”

Dr Ranjana Das and Dr Paul Hodkinson at the University of Surrey said:

“Though it can often be a time of joy, becoming a new parent can be immensely challenging. We are delighted to see our research findings around unmet mental health needs become a tangible, concrete resource for people to use. This collaboration has brought to life the experiences and stories we have heard in our research, in a way that will benefit new parents and professionals going forward. For more information on our project do look at our website www.surreyperinatal.net .”

Funded by an Impact Acceleration Award from the Economic and Social Research Council at the University of Surrey, the Factographics resources are in an innovative format that is engaging and useful to all – whether academics, commissioners, parents or healthcare professionals. Digitalised so they can work as a living sustainable resource – they are a national template created for local implementation. Available in web, mobile and PDF versions, they can be accessed directly by parents or shared by healthcare professionals and will be ideal for use in local public health campaigns.

Links to Factographics:

New dad? You’re not alone…Factographic

A baby is a blessing so why do I feel this way? – Factographic

New parent during the pandemic? Factographic

—-ENDS —-

For more information please contact:

Notes to editors

About the Surrey Perinatal project

Funded by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Award, and led by Dr Ranjana Das and Dr Paul Hodkinson of the University of Surrey’s Department of Sociology, the Surrey Perinatal project is a partnership with the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). Pooling together academic research and professional expertise in mental health support for new parents, we have been developing a variety resources for parents and practitioners to better support perinatal mental health over the course of 2020 and 2021. For full details please visit our website www.surreyperinatal.net.

About the Factographics

  • The Factographics focus on groups where there are unique unmet needs, including new fathers, mothers from British South Asian communities and parents who had a baby during the COVID19 pandemic.
  • They are available for new parents to access directly and for health professionals to share in their interactions with parents.
  • Each Factographic is interactive, combining images, text and video testimonials from both parents who have struggled and health visitors who are trained in this area.
  • They focus particularly on the mental health and wellbeing challenges that many new parents experience.

 About the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey – a global community of ideas and people, dedicated to life-changing education and research. The University of Surrey is a research-intensive university committed to teaching and research excellence with a focus on practice-based education programmes, providing a world-class experience to its students. It is committed to working in partnership with students, business, government and communities in the discovery and application of knowledge.

About the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV)

  • The Institute of Health Visiting is a UK Centre of Excellence supporting the development of universally high-quality health visiting practice. It was launched on 28 November 2012 to promote excellence in health visiting practice to benefit all children, families and communities. 
  • The aim for the iHV is to raise standards in health visiting practice, so improving public health outcomes for all children, families and communities.
  • For more information go to ihv.org.uk
  • Follow the Institute of Health Visiting on Twitter @iHealthVisiting and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/iHealthVisiting