iHV is delighted to support Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 (#IMHAW19) organised by the Association for Infant Mental health UK (AIMH).

IMHAW19 runs from Monday 10 June to Friday 14 June – and the topic this year is “Difficult Beginnings”. Each day of the week has themes and AIMH will be releasing relevant articles each day throughout the week to include:

  • Day 1: Difficult Beginnings: Pregnancy
    • Finding out your baby has a genetic disorder. How that impacts Parental Foetal Attachment in pregnancy and beyond. 
  • Day 2: Difficult Beginnings: Birth
    • How a traumatic or difficult birth impacts the baby and parent-infant relationship. 
  • Day 3: Difficult Beginnings: After Birth
    • How the baby and parent-infant relationship is impacted by a stay in SCBU/NICU.
  • Day 4: Difficult Beginning: First Few Months
    • When previous losses get in the way of the parent-infant attachment. 
  • Day 5: Difficult Beginnings: Getting Some Help
    • If things aren’t going well in pregnancy or following the birth of the baby, it is important for parents to seek help.

In support of the theme of the first day, we are pleased to reshare information on one of our current mental health research projects –  Improving the Delivery of Different News to Families by Healthcare Professionals.

About the research project

The term “different news” is to describe the process of imparting and receiving sad, bad or difficult information relating to a foetus or neonate. Being told different news is a life changing event for parents – potentially triggering perinatal mental illness and more. How parents are told is critical as it can determine how they cope and adjust in response to the news. The delivery of different news is necessary part of healthcare practice. Many practitioners receive little formal training on how to tell parents different news.

To improve the delivery of different news we are conducting research to develop a training programme for healthcare professionals.

This is being conducted over two phases. For the first phase, we collected the experiences of parents who have received different news relating to their child and also took healthcare professionals’ experiences of delivering this news to parents. These experiences are being used to inform the training programme to improve the delivery of different news.




The iHV is delighted to support Infant Mental Health (IMH) Awareness Week 2019 (10 – 14 June).

As part of the Week, the Institute will be publishing a report on the role of the Health Visitor and IMH.

We need your help! It would be fantastic if you would join forces with us on this report by completing this short survey.

We anticipate that the survey will allow us to better:

  • Understand the current context of health visiting practice in supporting good IMH
  • Influence strategic direction to support good IMH

The survey questions have been created based on the:

We are sending this request out to as many health visitors as possible to get as large as response as we can to support this report. We would like as many as possible to complete the survey – we would really appreciate it if you could complete the survey, share it and encourage other health visitors to complete it too!

The survey will close on 5 June – please create some time now so that your voice can be heard!

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) has published its response to the consultation – Mental Health in the Long-Term Plan for the NHS.

The consultation is to identify opportunities to deliver the NHS’s goal to provide world-class mental healthcare – improving the outcomes for everyone who uses the NHS services.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting said:

“At the Institute, we firmly believe there is no health without mental health, which is why we have perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) as a priority focus. We welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation to ensure that all families get consistent, accessible, high quality care and support for their mental health during the perinatal period. Our response reflects the many consultations and surveys we have done with our members and other stakeholders over the recent months and years.”

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 continued:

“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.”


We are delighted to open the bookings for two new specialist conferences:

  • Breastfeeding: a public health priority
  • iHV National Multi-agency Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Conference: The Hidden challenges

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director iHV, commented:

“It is a privilege to able to offer these fabulous specialist conferences with such distinguished speakers to support the health visiting profession. Please do take advantage of an iHV accredited event with great CPD and the latest updates in these two extremely important areas of health visiting practice. Book your place soon as we expect there to be pressure on places!”

Breastfeeding: a public health priority

  • 19 April 2018, in London
  • Accredited conference
  • This event is joint hosted by the iHV and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), and is supported the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi).
  • The conference programme is designed to illustrate the need for support and show examples of what integrated services can achieve in the community.
  • The World’s Breastfeeding Trends initiative findings and recommendations which will be shared during the day can strengthen health visitor practice and improve public health if implemented.
  • Earlybird tickets (for iHV members and non-members) are available until 16 March 2018

iHV National Multi-agency Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Conference: The Hidden challenges

  • 24 April 2018, in Manchester
  • Accredited conference
  • This multi-agency conference is a brilliant opportunity to get the latest updates and evidence in perinatal and infant mental health.
  • As well as stimulating learning through debate and discussion via presentations from internationally-acclaimed speakers, the day will offer focused opportunities to learn from each other through sharing best and promising practice in PIMH.
  • A call for abstracts is currently open – providing the opportunity to showcase your work in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH).  Abstracts are welcome in areas of new research and local innovations in the fields of perinatal and/or infant mental health.
  • Earlybird tickets (for iHV Champions, iHV members and non-members) are available until 29 March 2018, so don’t miss them! Limited student places also available.

We always seek to ensure our activities comply with the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative – our events are not and never will be sponsored by the formula milk industry. 

The Institute of Health Visiting is delighted to join Parent Infant Partnership (PIP) UK and the UK’s most prominent parenting and children’s organisations in the launch of the UK’s first national Infant Mental Health Awareness Week – from 6-10 June 2016.

A new campaign ‘Building Babies Minds’ is launched this week which seeks to highlight the importance of laying the foundation of the mind for good mental health in infancy.

Events will be taking place across the country to raise awareness of Infant Mental Health and its relevance to life chances for every child. As a society we can and should do much more to support parents in their all-important job of getting their babies started on the path to good mental health, which begins for everyone in infancy.

From birth to age 18 months, it has been calculated that connections in the brain are created at around a rate of a million per second. The earliest experiences shape a baby’s brain development, and have a significant impact on that baby’s mental and emotional health.

Clair Rees, Executive Director, Parent Infant Partnership (PIP) UK stated:

“Good mental health begins in early childhood. When a baby has the opportunity to form a secure bond with their parent or caregiver, this can support their potential and ability to form healthy relationships throughout life”.


Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting commented:

“It is the mental health of infants that assures the mental, social and physical health of our society. There can therefore be no better public health investment. By directing more professional time to supporting all new parents during the critical early years the benefits, both fiscal and to the health of our society, would be felt by all.”

Primary sponsors of the week include Public Health England, the Royal College of Midwives, the Institute of Health Visiting, Community Practitioners and Health Visitors’ Association, the Association for Infant Mental Health and Zero to Three.

Read PIP UK’s full press release

The Institute of Health Visiting warmly welcomes the new commissioning and workforce development guidance on Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental health (PIMH) – What they do and why they matter, published today by Health Education England (HEE).  It concludes that all women and their partners should have access to a specialist health visitor in perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) and recommends at least one for every health visiting service.

Creating Specialist Health Visitor posts in PIMH within every health visiting service will play a valuable part in reducing the incidence and impact of postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health problems. This will be through earlier diagnosis, better intervention and support – creating savings on child and adult mental health services, and improved public health.

Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director of the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), said:

“The iHV is delighted to endorse this new guidance which provides a framework for improvements in the services that health visitors can provide to families to promote their mental health.

“Through the health visiting ‘universal’ service, health visitors are well-placed to identify those families requiring additional support, especially where the mother (or indeed father) may be suffering from perinatal mental illness, or where the bond between parent and baby may be compromised. However, health visitors have many other roles and responsibilities taking their time during this important period of every child’s life and they would benefit from specialist support in this challenging arena.”

The framework sets out the important role of specialist health visitors in PIMH, illustrates the value to parents and other health professionals involved in a mother’s care and recommends that every woman should have access to a specialist Health Visitor as part of the multi-disciplinary team.

The Institute of Health Visiting is delighted to be supporting PIP UK (Parent Infant Partnership  UK) in its first ever Infant Mental Health Awards 2016 – and nominations are open until 16 May 2016.

Dr Cheryll Adams, executive director of the iHV, said:

“I would expect health visitors to be picking up at least one of these awards and I hope that our infant mental health champions will consider applying.”

The Infant Mental Health Awards are a key part of the Inaugural Infant Mental Health Week taking place 6-10 June.  The awards will be presented by a panel of high profile guests during  the ‘Investing in Early Potential’ conference taking place on 9 June in Central Hall Westminster.  Official Primary Partners for this week are; Public Health England (PHE), Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), CPHVA, and the Association of Infant Mental Health (AIMH).

 Nominations must be received by midnight 16 May 2016.

The six categories for the Awards are:

  1. Andrea Leadsom Award for Outstanding contribution to the field of Infant Mental Health: For an exceptional, and inspirational individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of Infant Mental Health nationally.
  2. Analeaf Award for Infant Mental Health Services: For an exceptional Infant Mental Health service provider, who has demonstrated positive practice, and has improved outcomes for both children and their families.
  3. Infant Mental Health Practitioner: For an exceptional Infant Mental Health practitioner who is innovative in his/her approach to the field of Infant Mental Health, and who continually delivers above, and beyond, what is expected.
  4. Locality Award for Infant Mental Health Inclusion: For a Locality / or Trust that has developed an integrated and inclusive Infant Mental Health service to improve the lives of vulnerable infants, toddlers, and their families.
  5. Infant Mental Health Researcher: For an individual researcher who has made a unique contribution to the growing body of knowledge through their research in the field of Infant Mental Health.
  6. People’s Choice Award: Nominations for this award will be made by an individual who has received support and / or treatment from an Infant Mental Health service provider they believe to be of exceptional quality, resulting in a positive experience and improved wellbeing for their baby, toddler and/or family.

Nominations close at midnight on 16 May 2016. Nominations will not be received after this date in order to ensure a fair process and will be facilitated by a selection panel.

You must ensure upon applying for these awards that you are able to attend the awards ceremony at the Investing in Early Potential conference in Westminster on Thursday 9 June.


The Institute of Health Visiting is supporting PIP UK (Parent Infant Partnership  UK) in its Inaugural Infant Mental Health Week taking place 6-10 June including a Conference on 9 June.

PIP UK provides the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Early Years which published the 1001 Critical Days Manifesto and the Great Britain’s report.  This will be an exciting opportunity to raise the profile of infant mental health and increase public awareness of its importance.

Dr Cheryll Adams said: “Do think of ways your team can get involved locally.”

iHV stock photography from Croydon area. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

iHV stock photography from Croydon area. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Monday (18 January)  saw the launch of the new framework for specialist health visitors in perinatal and infant mental health – we just need to get them funded everywhere now.

We know some of you already hold these posts but its lovely to have a national endorsement about how important they are.

The Framework is not available yet but it’s coming soon from HEE!

New Framework - Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health - What they do and why they matter

New Framework – Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health – What they do and why they matter