On Thursday 5 July, the Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, celebrated 70 years of the NHS with Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) Perinatal Mental Health Champions and Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Champions in Manchester.
During the celebration event, the Minister heard about the work of the health visitor, with a specific focus on the critical role that health visitors play in preventing mental illness, promoting mental wellness across the life-course and supporting/offering evidence-based interventions to families suffering from perinatal mental illness. She also heard a very powerful presentation from Jane Fisher, a mother with lived experience, on the importance of her relationship with her health visitor as part of her recovery.
Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director at the Institute of Health Visiting, said:
“5th July was such a special day for the NHS. We were delighted to celebrate its 70th year with some of our wonderful Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Champions in Manchester – a very appropriate location as health visiting started in Salford /Manchester in 1862 and there is a long history of Manchester supporting public health improvement. This was a great opportunity to share with the Minister the fantastic and essential work that health visitors and our Champions provide to mothers and their families.
“Perinatal mental health is key for all parents and their families – at the Institute we recognise the importance of this and have a range of accredited training programmes to ensure that health visitors and other health professionals have the correct information knowledge and understanding to support parents and families to promote and maintain their mental wellbeing. On marking the 70th birthday of the NHS, I am delighted to announce that the iHV has now trained over 1500 Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Champions – and, if each cascaded their knowledge to only 20 colleagues, then that’s over 30,000 healthcare professionals who have better insight to supporting perinatal and infant mental health – quite amazing!
“This celebratory event shone a light on health visitors and our amazing Champions who play such an important role in helping ensure all children have the best start in life.”
Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities Jackie Doyle-Price said:
“I was privileged to spend some of the NHS’ 70th birthday with such fantastic advocates for the Health Visiting profession.
“They really are our eyes and ears for good perinatal health, and do an important job in supporting new parents and families through a child’s early years. I know they are working under increasing pressures, and expect local authorities to make sure they support health visitors in communities across the country.”
Andrea Johns FiHV, Professional Lead Wirral- 0-19 and Cheshire East- Health Visiting, commented:
“I was delighted to see that the Minister was focusing on health visitors on the NHS 70th birthday. The role of the health visitor is key to improvements in perinatal and infant mental health. Health visitors are highly skilled in identifying mental health issues and work closely with partner agencies to deliver high quality, evidence-based support in the community.”
Melita Walker FiHV, Mental Health Lead, Institute of Health Visiting, added:
“NHS70 for the health visitors who met with Jackie Doyle-Price will be remembered as a day of celebration and hope. It was brilliant to be able to share the great work that health visitors are doing and also have the opportunity to discuss the challenges and think collaboratively for solutions.”