Every baby, every child, happy, healthy, safe and valued
and every parent feeling supported and able to achieve this

The core mission at the iHV is to improve the lives of all infants and their families through leading excellence in practice and reducing health inequalities. To help achieve this the Institute has always had a strong focus on perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH). We really do believe that there is “No Health without Mental Health” and that a healthy parent and a healthy parent-infant relationship is the foundation for good mental health across the life-course and, in turn, a healthy society.

 

That said, family mental health and wellbeing is complex and, whilst individuals, different professions and services can and do make a huge difference, we know that by joining the junctions and pulling together we can achieve so much more.

 

Certainly, the successes of the iHV Mental Health Department across 2021 have only been possible through working well with each other and our wider partners and so, on a day that has become known for celebrating relationships, we are delighted to share the iHV Mental Health Department Report 2021/2022.

Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV, said:

“I am delighted to see today’s report published which sets out the phenomenal achievements of the iHV’s Mental Health team in the last 12 months. Supporting better perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) is a priority for the Institute and for the nation – we are privileged to have such a highly skilled team leading this work. Congratulations to each member of the iHV PIMH team for their achievements and Melita Walker for her inspiring leadership.

“I hope that you will enjoy reading today’s report which showcases the numerous award-winning and innovative PIMH programmes that are being delivered across the UK by the iHV, and in partnership with others, to support practitioners in their work with families and better mental health across the lifecourse.”

Melita Walker, Head of Mental Health iHV, commented:

“I would like to thank the amazing team at the iHV and all our parent, professional and wider system partners. We could not have achieved the successes we have without their fantastic efforts and support. By collaborating and finding ways of keeping connected, even while working remotely, we have enjoyed discovering new talents and perspectives, been able to tackle new projects, opened up possibilities for new solutions and better results, and strengthened the opportunities to enable good family mental health and wellbeing.”

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Happy reading – and THANK YOU
For all that you do
#ValentinesDay

Exciting and unique development opportunity with the Institute

Professional Development Officer: Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

The iHV is seeking to appoint a Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH), Professional Development Officer.
The successful post holder will be a health visitor expert in perinatal and infant mental health and will support the iHV Mental Health Department workstream.

The post holder will be home based but, as restrictions ease, they should be prepared to travel mostly within the UK, but potentially also internationally. They will ideally be an iHV PIMH Champion and/or a specialist health visitor for PIMH, have broad experience in these fields, with additional research, or project development experience. A proven track record in delivering high quality PIMH training, both virtually and face-to-face, is essential.

A confident self-starter, they will deliver training to multi-agency audiences, attend national and regional PIMH meetings, deliver UK-wide regional Forums for our PIMH Champions and input advice to other iHV work streams on request.

We are looking for a dynamic and motivated leader, who is passionate about perinatal and infant mental health – an individual who is confident to drive and deliver positive change to enable good family mental health and wellbeing.

This post is for one year in the first instance with a definite expectation of extension, a job share would be considered. The Institute offers a competitive pension scheme.

Applications close: 9am Monday 28 February 2022

iHV welcomes new Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) economic research report which shows that health visiting has a clinically effective and cost-effective role in perinatal mental health care: The economic case for increasing access to treatment for women with common mental health problems during the perinatal period.

 

  • Independent research commissioned by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), estimates the costs and benefits of addressing unmet maternal mental health needs.
  • The report presents the clear economic benefits from training midwives and health visitors in perinatal mental health and enabling their work with pregnant and postnatal women.
  • Changes to standard practice could have a net economic benefit of £490 million over ten years; £52 million in NHS savings and quality of life improvements worth £437 million
  • Universal services such as health visiting and midwifery have a clinically effective and cost-effective role in perinatal mental health care, identifying women in need or at risk, and facilitating access to or providing treatment as part of their routine work with women during and after pregnancy.
  • The report recommends scaling-up integrated provision across the UK as both desirable and viable from an economic perspective.

In a new study commissioned by the MMHA, researchers from LSE evaluated the economic viability of reforming current treatment for pregnant and postnatal women experiencing common maternal mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

The report, ‘The economic case for increasing access to treatment for women with common mental health problems during the perinatal period’, estimates the costs and benefits of a model of care which could give women’s mental health the same priority as their physical health. The model, which focuses on the essential role of midwives and health visitors, would allow for women’s mental wellbeing to be accurately assessed at every routine contact and suitable treatments to be offered.

The proposed ‘integrated model of care’ would include dedicated maternal mental health training for health visitors and midwives as well as greater collaboration with other healthcare services.

In the report, resources needed to set up and provide this model of care – namely employment and training costs – are measured against their economic return. Researchers conclude that it could lead to cost savings of £52 million for the NHS over 10 years, and improvements in women’s quality of life estimated at £437 million. In total, this is a net benefit of £490 million over 10 years.

Policy analysis by MMHA member, Centre for Mental Health, determines that equitable integrated service provision is the logical and economical next step in the evolution of perinatal mental health care in the UK. It would close a major gap and ensure women get timely access to help for their mental health needs.

Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV, said:

“Even before COVID-19, there were many system challenges to ensuring that all families had access to the right care and treatment, at the right time, for their mental health and wellbeing. Against a backdrop of rising levels of unmet need, we now need to do better. I am therefore delighted to see this robust and long-awaited research published today – it  presents a sound economic case for health visiting, as an  evidence-based solution to some of these challenges, with a fully costed model of care which demonstrates significant savings alongside improving the lives of families experiencing perinatal mental health problems.

“This report is a significant resource for policy makers looking to deliver the Government’s Start for Life commitment to improve parents’ access to perinatal mental health support and give every child  the best start in life. With such clear evidence, it is vital that the Government acts now to strengthen the health visiting service in England as part of an effective integrated system of perinatal mental health support for families.”

Melita Walker, Head of Mental Health iHV, added:

“Mental health problems in the perinatal period are common and as all families have a health visitor, they are ideally placed to offer skilled, professional support quickly when it’s needed. However, current shortages of health visitors make that difficult, and many families are missing out on effective early help for common mental health problems.

“This new report demonstrates that health visiting has a clinically effective and cost-effective role in perinatal mental health care, identifying families at risk of or suffering from mental health problems and facilitating access to, or providing, effective evidence-based treatments as part of their routine work with women and their families during the perinatal period.

“Ensuring all health visitors have the training and time to meet women’s mental health needs is a sound investment that would make a difference to many thousands of women and their families. Furthermore, this timely new economic evidence strengthens the findings and recommendations highlighted in the latest research by Professor Jane Barlow, on the unique leadership role of Specialist Health Visitor in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health in supporting effective integrated PIMH services.”

If we are serious about using sound evidence to make the biggest difference, then going forward we need to:

  1. Build back our health visitor numbers
  2. Ensure all health visitors have appropriate capacity and high-quality training in family mental health
  3. Have a Specialist PIMH Health Visitor supporting families in every Local Authority in England, every Health Board in Wales and Scotland and every Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland.

 

Oxford University study recommends commissioning of Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health throughout UK to tackle growing social cost issue

Oxford University has published research examining the training and qualifications of Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (Sp HV PIMH), and their role in supporting health visitors and families at risk of /or experiencing mental health problems during the perinatal period.

 

The report recommends that Sp HV PIMH should be commissioned throughout the UK to tackle this issue, which has an extremely high social and financial cost. Currently, Sp HV PIMH constitute just 0.8% of the health visiting workforce (in England). The Oxford research found that in some areas Sp HV PIMH posts had never been funded, and in other areas the funding had been discontinued or cut – these were cited as the biggest barriers to the promotion of perinatal and infant mental health.

Perinatal mental health issues can have a devastating impact on women and their families, and results in a financial cost of £8.1 billion for each one-year cohort of births in the UK, with 72% of this cost relating to adverse impacts on the child. As such, maternal and family mental health has been designated as one of six high-impact areas for the health visiting workforce.

Abigail Reynolds, a mum with lived experience, shared:

“I was diagnosed with severe Anorexia Nervosa in early 2019, when I was seven months pregnant with my second child. The past three years have been unimaginably challenging, but my health visitor​s support throughout my illness and recovery has enabled me to rebuild my life, to learn how to care for myself as well as my children – and to believe I am worthy of that care – and to gain the confidence to begin using my personal experience to help educate and support others in both the eating disorders and perinatal mental health areas.

“Health visitors are so well placed ​within the community, and have a unique opportunity to build trusting relationships with the whole family to support family mental health​ – they are a vital part of the system.”

The study surveyed 41 Sp HV PIMH and 3 Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champions, who described their casework as focusing on areas such as parental antenatal depression, antenatal anxiety, general anxiety, birth trauma, postnatal depression and panic attacks, using a range of interventions including listening visits and motivational interviewing amongst others.

Survey respondents reported current barriers to the promotion of PIMH as being a lack of funding (82.3%) and a lack of understanding among commissioners about PIMH (64.7%) and the role of HVs in PIMH (73.5%) – with the discontinuity in funding that has occurred over recent years being perceived to have led to a constant need to reinvent the wheel.

Melita Walker, Head of Mental Health at the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“We welcome this timely report which clearly sets out the important role of Specialist PIMH Health Visitors. Health visitors have a key role in supporting good family mental health. However, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, there were many system challenges to ensuring that all families had access to the right care at the right time. So this year, more than ever, the time has been absolutely right to have a focus on leadership – the role of the  Specialist Health Visitor in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health and how a well-resourced health visiting service, as part of the PIMH system, can maximise the opportunity for good family mental health and wellbeing.

“The timing of this report fits very well with priorities for family mental health and the Government’s recent commitment for PIMH in the last budget. Its recommendations echo what national think tanks, such as the Maternal Mental Health Alliance and the First 1001 Days Movement, are campaigning for and provides policy makers and commissioners with sound evidence to improve family mental health through an effective health visiting service.”

New and exciting opportunity with the Institute

Are you:

  • An ambitious administrator with an engaging online presence, looking for a stimulating and varied work opportunity?
  • Looking for an exciting role providing central support to a dynamic team providing nationally recognised training?
  • Organised and systematic in your approach to work and able to work remotely without direct supervision?

If yes, then come join us. This is an excellent opportunity to join the Institute of Health Visiting, the leading Centre of Excellence for health visiting, as our Training & Mental Health Administrator to support the organisation of our training events and meetings, acting as technical coordinator (hosting online training events and Forum meetings), and providing specific support for the mental health team and wider iHV team activity. Provision of national training is an important function of the work undertaken by the Institute and provides important income for the iHV, which is a charity.

This exciting new combined post is offered to grow our virtual training capacity and meet the increased administration needs arising from the growing demand for our training, while providing an opportunity for the right candidate to become part of the valued administration team at the Institute.

We are seeking applicants who enjoy varied work and are good self-starters with excellent personal drive. You will need to be able to work efficiently remotely, without direct supervision, as well as collaboratively as part of a busy team in the office. You will have experience in the use of online meeting platforms and a confident presence in the virtual space.

As the Training & Mental Health Administrator, you will work alongside the current iHV Training Administrator and will oversee the day-to-day administration of our regular multi-agency training events – ensuring that the systematic preparation and robust liaison with all parties supports delivery at the highest standard by our trainers, in order to meet our contractual obligations to our stakeholders (funders and paying participants). A key part of the role is also providing technical coordination for our virtual training events. This hosting role is central to the success of our live online training and ensures a very positive training experience for the participants, where you will welcome them to the virtual space and assist with any issues.

The post will suit candidates who are organised, systematic in their approach to work and are excellent communicators. Your work will support the roles of the iHV Training Programme Lead and iHV Mental Health Lead, and you will be supported by a fantastic team including the iHV Training Programme Manager, iHV Training Administrator, iHV Digital & Marketing Intern and a host of wonderful iHV Professional Development Officers in the Mental Health team.

This post will offer the right candidate a unique opportunity to enjoy a job that provides a real variety of tasks, which contributes to the delivery of highly acclaimed and nationally recognised training, while working on alongside a really committed and dynamic team.

Applications close:  9am Friday 23 July 2021.

Interviews: Tuesday 3 August 2021.

Innovative resources to support perinatal mental health (PMH) ‘by parents and professionals – for parents and professionals’

On International Fathers’ Mental Health Day (#DadsMHday), the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), in partnership with Dr Ranjana Das and Dr Paul Hodkinson from the University of Surrey, is delighted to announce the launch of three new ‘Factographics’ interactive resources – designed to better support the mental health of new mothers and fathers.

Mental health problems in the time around having a baby are common and, left untreated, can have significant short- and long-term impact for all members of the family. Identifying problems early and offering the right support and treatment maximises the opportunity for good outcomes for the whole family. The new resources, based on research findings by Dr Das and Dr Hodkinson on new parents’ mental health, were developed in partnership with the iHV, parents and professionals, who worked together to translate the findings into meaningful sustainable resources that can be used by parents and professionals at every local level.

The three new interactive Factographics resources to support perinatal mental health are oriented to groups or areas where we know there are unique unmet needs – namely, new fathers, mothers from British South Asian communities, and parents who had a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melita Walker, Mental Health Lead at the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“These fabulous Factographics are produced in an innovative format that is engaging to all users, and are co-produced ‘by parents and healthcare professionals for use by parents and healthcare professionals’. They highlight some of the barriers to engagement, share stories and media clips about individual experiences, and provide links to organisations and helplines. Factographics strengthen relationships between parents and professionals, they bust myths and stigma and, most importantly, they let parents know that they are not alone and that there is help – they offer parents a sense of hope.”

Dr Ranjana Das and Dr Paul Hodkinson at the University of Surrey, said:

“Though it can often be a time of joy, becoming a new parent can be immensely challenging. We are delighted to see our research findings around unmet mental health needs become a tangible, concrete resource for people to use. This collaboration has brought to life the experiences and stories we have heard in our research, in a way that will benefit new parents and professionals going forward. For more information on our project do look at our website www.surreyperinatal.net .”

Funded by an Impact Acceleration Award from the Economic and Social Research Council at the University of Surrey, the Factographics resources are in an innovative format that is engaging and useful to all – whether academics, commissioners, parents or healthcare professionals. Digitalised so they can work as a living sustainable resource – they are a national template created for local implementation. Available in web, mobile and PDF versions, they can be accessed directly by parents or shared by healthcare professionals and will be ideal for use in local public health campaigns.

Links to Factographics:

New dad? You’re not alone…Factographic

A baby is a blessing so why do I feel this way? – Factographic

New parent during the pandemic? Factographic

 

Close to 551,000 people in the UK are managing a mental health condition.  A large proportion of these are women who may be contemplating pregnancy or are at risk of unplanned pregnancy.

A partnership, comprising Tommy’s, Public Health England, NHS England and King’s College London, has developed a set of supportive resources for women with mental health conditions who are planning a pregnancy or may wish to become pregnant in the future.

Mental health conditions can refer to a wide range of conditions. The new resources have been developed to specifically offer support to those who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe depression and psychosis. They aim to help women with SMI make informed decisions around when to get pregnant, what to watch out for and how their condition could be treated before, during and after pregnancy.

The resources include new online information and support hub for anyone with severe mental illness (SMI) planning a pregnancy, as well as practical guidance for the frontline healthcare professionals who support them. Tommy’s has also updated their Planning for Pregnancy tool so that users with severe mental illness get specific tailored advice.

#PregnancyInformation #SupportWithMentalHealth #TryingToConceive #ttc #Preconception #TryingForABaby #FreeResources #MentalHealthMatters

 

Here are Top 5 tips for anyone planning a pregnancy with a diagnosed mental health condition, click on the video below:

iHV is delighted to announce that our Mental Health Lead, Melita Walker, has been nominated for, and accepted, the role of President of the United Kingdom and Ireland Marcé Society (UKIMS).

 

Melita Walker, iHV Mental Health Lead

The International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health is an international, interdisciplinary organisation dedicated to supporting research and assistance surrounding prenatal and postpartum mental health for mothers, fathers /partners and their babies. The iHV has been a longstanding supporter of the International Marcé Society and the regional branch. The overall mission and aims of the Society are strongly aligned to the charitable objectives of the Institute of Health Visiting and the work of the iHV, its 5 pillars and the workstreams progressed as part of the iHV Mental Health Department.

In accepting the position, Melita Walker said:

“I am deeply honoured to have been nominated to lead the UK and Ireland regional group of such a world-leading and well-renowned perinatal mental health community.  I look forward to being able to strengthen the contribution of health visiting within the international perinatal community and vice-versa, strengthening the Society by spotlighting: a whole systems approach to perinatal and infant mental health;  thinking of the whole family; transferring knowledge into practice; public mental health and prevention; informing research from practice and practice from research; and co-production with parents/families.”

Melita will serve one year as President-elect, at the end of this term she will become President of UKIMS and serve for 3 years.

Melita continued:

“The Marcé Society has been a source of inspiration to me and the connections we have made. These connections and the fabulous International and regional UKIMS meetings have enabled us at the iHV to make sure that our training, resources, responses to policy consultations and events are informed by the very latest cutting-edge research.

“I am particularly excited that my term as President will coincide with Professor Louise Howard’s term as President of the International Society and am very much looking forward to seeing lots of health visitors at the Biennial International Marcé Meeting in London in 2022!”

 

 

 

 

The iHV is seeking to appoint a part-time Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Trainer to support delivery of the iHV award-winning UK-wide training programmes, either face-to-face or virtually (as currently being delivered), as well as supporting a wide range of evolving workstreams across the Mental Health portfolio.

The post holder will be an experienced trainer, including as a perinatal/infant mental health Champion, and with experience of delivering training to multi-professional groups. They will contribute to the evaluation of the delivery of the programmes. They will be home-based and the post will include pre-planned travel and overnight stays in other areas to support training.

A confident self-starter, they will be passionate about the contribution that health visiting can make to reducing the impact of perinatal mental illness and improving the public’s health.

The post holder will have well-established local PIMH networks and able to demonstrate engagement with national level activities in the field of PIMH.

This a part-time position – 0.4 or 8 days a month with possibility of additional days some weeks by arrangement.  This is 1-year fixed-term contract with probability of extension.

Applications close: Thursday 17 December 2020

Interviews: Monday 21 December 2020 (please keep this clear)

Exciting and unique development opportunity with the Institute

Professional Development Officer, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, ideally based South of England

The iHV is seeking to appoint a full-time health visitor expert in perinatal and infant mental health and practice development to work with them supporting their European project, training and various other related projects, as well as covering some national meetings, a job share would be considered.

The post holder, who will have a masters’ degree, will preferably be based in the South of England and will be prepared to travel within the post, mostly within the UK, but potentially also to European countries. They will ideally be an iHV infant and perinatal mental health (PIMH) champion or a specialist health visitor for PIMH, have broad experience in these fields, with additional research, or project development experience.

A confident self-starter, they will deliver the requirements of our European project, training, attend meetings, develop regional forums for our PIMH champions and input advice to other workstreams on request.

The post holder will be highly respected by colleagues for their capacity to drive and deliver local professional developments.

1 year post in the first instance with a definite expectation of extension, a job share would be considered.  The Institute offers a competitive pension scheme.

Applications close: Thursday 26 November 2020

Interviews:  Wednesday 2 December 2020