4th May 2021
In support of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (3-9 May 2021 – #MMHWeek2021), a Voices Blog by Marie-Claire Shankland and Clare McGuire, NHS Education for Scotland.
In 2019, the Scottish Government launched a programme of work to increase the provision of Perinatal Mental Health Services to women in Scotland.
Health Visitors and Midwives are, of course, vital in recognising and responding to the mental health needs of women, infants and their partners. At NHS Education for Scotland, we were keen to find a way to support Health Visitors and Midwives in Scotland to achieve the skills and knowledge recommended by our Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Curricular Framework.
We were delighted to be able to commission the Institute of Health Visiting to provide their Perinatal Mental Health Champions training as part of our National Initiative for Scotland.
The iHV Champions programme is a “Train the Trainer” model that supports front-line practitioners to enhance their knowledge and skills in the field of perinatal mental health, and take on informal Champion roles for providing advocacy and leadership locally. The training equips Champions with the resources and support to provide a formal cascade of awareness training.
In February the first group of 20 health visitors and midwives completed the 2-day training (all online) and have had a follow-up session to plan the cascade of training. The response to the training was incredibly positive and practitioners are already planning how to use the training in their area.
The training was excellent, and the trainers were very enthusiastic. During the training I was aware how some of these strategies would make a positive impact on families on my caseload and am keen to share with others.
I will consider the family as a whole, ensure that my practice is reflective, will use the knowledge I have gained to inform my assessments and support of perinatal and infant mental health. I have clearer understanding of the processes and policies relating to supporting families.
I would like to develop closer relationships with our midwifery team and maybe try and identify a link worker who would be keen to become a champion to enable better communication and sharing of information earlier. I will cascade the training locally.
We are very much looking forward to iHV providing Perinatal Mental Health Champions training to a further 40 health visitors and midwives in September 2021 and February 2022.
Marie-Claire Shankland and Clare McGuire
NHS Education for Scotland