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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week Manchester

13th June 2022

We love to hear what amazing work our PIMH Champions are up to and were delighted when Anulika Ifezu (Specialist health visitor and lead for perinatal and infant mental health in Manchester) responded to our latest Bulletin request and shared what she and her colleagues have planned for this week highlighting the activity taking place in Manchester as part of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 #IMHAW2022.

In support of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 (13-19 June), with the theme of ‘understanding childhood trauma’, Manchester is hosting a series of free events to raise awareness of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This includes providing training, showcasing the work we have done over the past years, and holding an engagement session on future work.

In 2017, Manchester launched its ambitious, important project to make the city an “ACE aware city” following statistics from the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). We understood from the studies, which were first undertaken in the USA and repeated in the UK, that some health conditions have their origins in adverse experiences during childhood.

Pilot work was carried out in the part of Manchester with the following statistics:

  • The life expectancy was significantly lower than England average (75.5 years men and 80 years for women).
  • Overall premature mortality (deaths under 75s) was worst in the country.
  • Premature death from heart disease and stroke was worst in the country.
  • Death from respiratory problems was 2nd highest in the country.
  • Death from cancer was 3rd highest in the country.
  • Death from smoking attributed death was highest in the country.

It was necessary to raise the awareness of ACEs, train staff to better understand the potential impact of ACEs, and how to work effectively in partnership with communities to develop and build, enabling practice to become resilient.

Health visiting services in Manchester understand the potential effect of early trauma on the brain architecture of the baby from pregnancy.  We have embedded the Brazelton Approach using Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO) and the Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (NBAS) into the Health Visiting service, and NBO into some early years local authority/voluntary services. We have also launched the 1000 critical days funding, which was open to voluntary services, to provide additional evidence-based support to the families.

This funding focuses on:

  • supporting the relationship between parents and their babies
  • supporting infant mental health
  • partnership and integration between services

Manchester has learnt from the pilot work and has gone ahead to roll out the training, and the lessons learnt from the ACE pilot work, to other the services that work with families. The aim is to train everyone working with families – to make Manchester an ACE aware city!

For Infant Mental Health week 2022, we have organised a series of exciting free events to showcase the great work that has been done across Manchester over the past few years:

13 June
Resilience film screening
Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/resilience-film-screening-tickets-341999167717

15 June
Online ACE training

Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/online-training-aces-trauma-informed-practice-training-via-ms-teams-tickets-341961174077

17 June
A showcase event that will bring together statutory and voluntary sectors, along with experts, to showcase the work we have done across Manchester, and host an engagement session for future work.
Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/adverse-childhood-experience-ace-showcase-event-tickets-344231414427

Anulika Ifezu , Specialist health visitor and lead for perinatal and infant mental health in Manchester