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.




At the start of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, the iHV is delighted to support the launch of PIP UK’s report “Rare Jewels” on Specialised parent-infant relationship teams in the UK – published today, Monday 10 June 2019, at the APPG Conception to Age Two meeting in Parliament.

iHV Director, Dr Cheryll Adams, at launch of PIP UK’s Rare Jewels report at the APPG Conception to Age Two in Parliament

Alongside its focus on specialised teams, the report highlights the important role health visitors play in enabling good IMH:

“Health visitors play an important role in promoting parent-infant relationships as they have the opportunity to work with every family during this important period”.  

“Nice Guidance for postnatal care states that assessment for emotional attachment should be carried out at each postnatal contact and home visits should be used as an opportunity to promote parent- or mother-to-baby emotional attachment”. 

We are particularly pleased to see the value of specialist IMH health acknowledged. We look forward to strengthening this when we publish the findings from our own recent iHV survey into Infant Mental Health later this week.

The report, ‘Rare Jewels’, highlights the shocking lack of mental health provision for children aged 2 and under with data suggesting that 42% of Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas in England CAMHS services will not accept referrals for children aged 2 and under.

The report makes several recommendations for local and national decision makers about how they could support the development of specialised provision. These include:

  • Collecting data disaggregated by age to ensure services are accessible to, and accessed by, children of all ages.
  • Ensuring there is clear accountability at a national and local level for commissioning mental health services to meet the needs of all children.
  • Creating a ringfenced transformation budget to support local investment in services for the first 1001 days of life.
  • Setting out clear implementation plans for how commitments to improve mental health provision will be realised for all children, including those 2 and under.

Governments across the UK have made commitments to increase early intervention, to improve children’s mental health and to close inequalities in outcomes.

The iHV supports this report’s call for them to provide focused and determined leadership and the investment required to translate their commitments into a reality to give every baby the best start in life.

Please do share the report with your networks and on any social media platforms using the hashtags #rarejewels #IMHAW19 #healthvisitors #infantmentalhealth.  Please do also link to us using the handle @iHealthVisiting and @earlypotential