Bookings open for 11 and 12 May 2022


This is an opportunity to book a place on our hosted training event which provides an opportunity for individual practitioners to complete our programme.

Our multi-agency Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Champions training programme is designed to improve family mental health by:

  • increasing competence and confidence in perinatal and infant mental health practice
  • developing place-based leadership for perinatal and infant mental health across complex systems of care
  • raising awareness of the importance of perinatal and infant mental health across the workforce

Date and Time:

  • Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 May 2022 (both days to be attended)
  • 09:00-16:30 online – log in from 08:45

Cost of places:

  • £415 – iHV Member (membership number required for booking)
  • £450 – Non-member

How do I apply?

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

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

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.”

We are delighted to share a case study written by Helen, who is a health visitor working in the East of England. Helen’s case study demonstrates the breadth of the health visiting role and through using her specialist public health nursing skills, was able to identify several problems which were impacting on the whole family’s health and wellbeing.

What started out to be a mother’s request for sleep support for her 10-week-old baby was actually a cry for help as the mother was suffering with perinatal illness, alongside having relationship difficulties with her partner. Helen built a trusting relationship with both parents and identified what the problems were, to ensure the whole family were supported.

Many positive outcomes were achieved for the family:

  • There was an improvement in perinatal mental health symptoms
  • The parents’ relationship improved
  • The infant and parent relationship strengthened
  • The mother ceased seeking additional support from her GP and private consultants

Helen received the following feedback from the mother:

I just wanted to say a big thank you for your support for the past year. It feels like a huge milestone reaching 12 months. I really appreciate your steady and non-judgemental support, and we wouldn’t have made it here without you. Thank you.’

Helen was able to #TurnOffTheTaps and reduce the burden on the NHS

Calling all health visitors:

We invite you to find your inner warrior and share your stories on social media. How have you made a difference to babies, children and families? Support the #TurnOffTheTaps campaign and raise the profile of health visiting so every baby can get the best start in life. Together we are stronger. #InvestInHealthVisiting

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is delighted to announce that its Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) Champions Programme has been shortlisted for the Workforce Initiative of the Year at the HSJ Awards 2021, recognising their outstanding contribution to healthcare – in what has been an exceptional and challenging period across the sector.

HSJ Awards 2021 Finalist banner

Despite the demanding circumstances of the past 18 months, over 1000 entries have been received for this year’s HSJ Awards. The volume and standards of applications has been a true testament to those health and social care staff, who continue to push outstanding work and transformational projects across the sector.

Melita Walker, Head of the Mental Health Department at The Institute of Health Visiting, commented:

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the HSJ Workforce Initiative of the Year. With such stiff competition and eminent judges, it is a massive honour for the Institute to be shortlisted. This significant recognition really does reflect the collaborative efforts and dedication of #TeamiHV and the iHV PIMH Champions.

“The iHV PIMH Champions programme has evolved over several years (alongside the evidence base, changing policy and evolving national standards) and is unique in its capacity to reach large audiences through our highly developed leadership-cascade model which builds in sustainability for commissioners. The programme and its quality assurance measures have been co-designed, co-developed and co-delivered alongside experts by experience as well as perinatal mental health experts from the professions we commonly train, i.e. health visitors, midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners and psychiatrists and other mental health workers.”

The judging panel comprised a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community, including: Sir Bruce Keogh (Chair, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT); Marie Gabriel CBE (Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory); and former HSJ Trust of the Year winners Ann Marr OBE (Chief Executive, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust) and Richard Mitchell (Chief Executive, Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT).

Following the intense and in-depth judging process the iHV was shortlisted, ahead of the official awards ceremony to be held later this year (18 November). Standing out amongst tough competition from hundreds of other exemplary applicants, the iHV Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champions Programme was selected based on ambition, visionary spirit and the demonstrable positive impact that the project has had for professionals and families.

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated significant changes to the way in which healthcare practitioners were able to access training and professional development. The Institute of Health Visiting was well-positioned and responsive in adapting their highly renowned Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) Champions’ Programmes to meet the requirements of the virtual world. In doing so, they enabled ongoing access to standardised, high-quality national training and support, ensuring that frontline PIMH practitioners were sufficiently equipped and skilled to meet the increasing needs of families and improve outcomes for those affected by, or at risk of, perinatal and infant mental health problems.

HSJ editor Alistair McLellan, commented:

“On behalf of all my colleagues, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Institute of Health Visiting on being nominated in the category of Workforce Initiative of the Year in this year’s HSJ Awards. The applications we receive always present our panel of judges with a very difficult task as the standard is unfailingly high and the breadth of innovation and passion for patient care is always so inspiring.

“This year, we really have been overwhelmed with the level of entries, particularly when set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the huge challenges faced by our health and social care workforce.

“We are therefore looking forward to welcoming all our finalists to the live ceremony in November and joining us in celebrating their incredible achievements and commitment to excellence.”

The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found on

The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution, London, on 18 November 2021.

Wow, what an inspiring and amazing day we had at #iHVPIMH2021!

Our third annual Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) conference, Systems for Success, held on Wednesday 5 May 2021, was a virtual conference.

With 300 delegates, this was our largest PIMH conference ever and we were delighted that it also celebrated World Maternal Mental Health Day.

This year’s conference placed the family firmly at the centre of a whole systems approach to family mental health and wellbeing.

When thinking about systems, Aristotle said the whole is greater besides the sum of its parts – and it’s certainly true of mental health. Family mental health 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.

Melita Walker, Mental Health Lead at iHV, commented:

“Achieving good family mental health requires effective, strategic, integrated, inter-agency system-wide approaches, and that is exactly what the iHV Champions programmes deliver. I was delighted to celebrate that, as of World Maternal Mental Health Day, we have trained 2622 PIMH Champions, from across the very broadest range of professional backgrounds and it’s wonderful to know that many of our Champions were able to attend.

“Aristotle also said: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” I would like to thank all our wonderful speakers who certainly put their hearts and minds into #iHVPIMH2021! The conference was a great opportunity for connecting, reflecting and co-directing the future of PIMH care. We had learning from across the globe, across the UK, from professional, parental and organisational perspectives, and, as ever, our conference was grounded in evidence and the wisdom of families and practitioners throughout.

“I would like to thank our many partners within the PIMH systems who have contributed to the success of the Institute’s Work in Mental Health. We could not have done it without you. We can’t do it without you! A special thank you to our Champions and Parent colleagues, and also to the AIM Foundation for their encouragement, belief and continued support of the Institute’s Work in Mental Health.”

We are receiving some amazing feedback from the conference:

It was a fantastic conference with amazing speakers such powerful presentations well done team iHV

#iHVPIMH2021 what a fantastic and inspiring day. Having speakers from the devolved nations really added to the programme for me

Thank you @iHealthVisiting for a great #iHVPIMH2021 conference! Thanks to the fabulous speakers who presented. May we all continue to ensure we build a fair system that leaves no one behind!

#iHVPIMH2021 #WorldMaternalMentalHealthDay wow my first iHVPIMH Conference and what an inspiring day it has been. Thank you @iHealthVisiting

Thank you @IHV @Alison_Morton2 @melita_walker for an incredibly action packed conference. #iHVPIMH2021

Speakers included:

  • Luciana Berger Chair, Maternal Mental Health Alliance
  • Sally Hogg Head of Policy and Campaigning , Parent-Infant Foundation
  • Dr Ruth Oshikanlu MBE, Independent Health Visitor and Executive Director , Goal Mind
  • Dr Billie Lever Taylor, Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist, University College London and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
  • Roch Cantwell Lead Clinician, Vice-Chair and Perinatal Psychiatrist, Perinatal Mental Health Network Scotland, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board
  • Dr Vicky Fallon, Lecturer in Health Psychology, Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool
  • Professor Louise Howard, President, MARCE International Society
  • Dr Alain Gregoire, Founder, Former Chair, and now Honorary President, Maternal Mental Health Alliance

Conference recordings and presentations

Recordings from the day’s proceedings and presentation pdfs are available for conference delegates – via our conference website – you will need your conference registration number to access.

If you were not able to join us on the day, you can still purchase access to view our conference recordings. Click here to find out more and, if you are an iHV member, use your membership number as your discount code too!

Have a quick spin through all the tweets collated from day in the Wakelet link below – so much to see! So, don’t miss out



The iHV is delighted to have supported the launch of the new report on maternal mental health and the services that supported women and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to put on record our thanks to the Alliance for undertaking this work and creating a public opportunity today for us to come together, to think together about the findings and their important implications for families now – need is great and families can’t wait.


Today’s report brings together, for the first time, all of the available data collected during the pandemic looking at the mental health challenges that women during and after pregnancy have faced. The evidence shows a significant increase in maternal mental health problems across the UK over the last 12 months

Speaking at the launch event today, iHV Mental Health Lead, Melita Walker highlighted the important role that health visitors play in identifying and supporting families experiencing mental health challenges, saying:

“Health visitors are qualified nurses or midwives who go on to study at a specialist level in public health to become health visitors. Every family has a health visitor, and they are there to support all members of the family to enjoy good health. Health is affected by a multitude of things so health visitors may be working with families to support a very broad range of need, and those needs, left unsupported as this report shows, can actually tip families into experiencing mental health problems. Health visitors have a vital role in promoting good mental health, preventing mental health problems, identifying them early, offering evidence-based interventions and care coordination when more specialist services are needed. Family mental health and wellbeing is “the bread and butter” of health visiting.

The perinatal period is a vulnerable time for the acute onset and recurrence of mental disorders. When these vulnerabilities are combined with the impact of a pandemic, mental health problems and health inequalities are affected further. We have seen parents struggling with isolation, and sadly, we are seeing an increase in, domestic abuse, child poverty, substance misuse and child maltreatment. Rates of mental health problems are increased and inequalities are widening.  The impact of lockdown has been unevenly distributed and families with lower incomes, from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and young parents are experiencing the most detrimental consequences due to compounding factors like overcrowded housing with lack of outdoor space, the effects of poverty, which all have an impact on parental stress, anxiety and predisposition to mental illness. The family centred holistic role of the health visitor cuts across and can make a difference in all of these areas- thus positively and proactively supporting good family mental health alongside a range of other health outcomes.

That said, health visitors can only make a difference if we have sufficient numbers of them and this report highlights that health visitors in England went into the pandemic in a hugely depleted state due to years of cuts to the health visiting service. The first two years of a child’s life are important, and the right support and guidance for families at this time can make a big difference to their long-term outcomes. HVs can be a lifeline for families and the iHV ‘s position from very early on in this pandemic was that there was “more than one frontline” and sustaining support for families’ needed to be a priority and that health visitors should not be redeployed.

It is important to note that many local authorities in England did not redeploy their health visitors, but 65% redeployed at least one health visitor and redeployment ranged from no health visitors being redeployed in some areas, to 63%, of the HV team being redeployed. Over 11% of local authorities lost over a quarter of their HVs. So, we can see, with redeployment rates differing substantially, young children and families’ access to health visiting services was determined by their postcode.

The iHV campaigned vigorously from the outset about redeployment and we were very relieved when England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May , Public Health England & the Local Government Authority sent a letter to all the CNOs stating that HVs provide ‘frontline’ work and should not be redeployed.

The learning we have now, and the swell of collective voices, hopefully means that we can be confident going forward in this and any future pandemic, that health visitors will remain on their own frontline. We are also very optimistic that the Leadsom review will contain some significant measures to strengthen the HV offer for families.

There has been a lot of learning from and throughout this pandemic and we must pay tribute to all the health visitors who continue to work really hard in some very challenging circumstances to find ways to stay alongside families to make sure they receive the care and support they need for their mental health. We have heard of some fantastic examples of health visitors turning to new ways of working and to get all of this up and running in the speed that they have is commendable.

Health visitors are telling us that virtual and digital help has allowed them to reach parents in the absence of being able to visit, and there may well be some of the virtual offers kept after restrictions have eased. They are also telling us very firmly, as is the emerging evidence included in this report, that virtual should not replace face to face contacts.

The research is showing us that there are significant increased MH problems in parents who have experienced becoming a parent during the pandemic. If we are to meet this need then all services need to work together as a system, and all parts of that system need to be strong.

We know a robust home visiting – health visiting service works- we need to build back our health visitor numbers because as this report shows, health visitors are a critical part of the solution for achieving good family mental health and wellbeing”.

Bookings are now open, with member discounts and earlybird rates, for the iHV PIMH ‘Systems for Success’ Conference, being held virtually on Wednesday, 5 May 2021.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to attend the iHV’s annual Perinatal & Infant Mental conference which we are bringing to you virtually. Originally planned for March 2020 in Manchester, which was postponed due to the current pandemic, we are delighted to be able to confirm our fabulous programme and booking details for our virtual event in May.

We have a fabulous line up of speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds so we can really come together to connect across boundaries and reflect on the latest evidence, research and experiences of PIMH care.

Event Details

  • Time: 09:30 – 16:35
  • Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2021
  • Venue: Online via Zoom

Delegate fees:

We are delighted to offer earlybird rates, with further special rates for our members and PIMH Champion members.

Earlybird ends 5pm Friday 26 March

iHV Members, iHV Champion Members and non-members can take advantage of our earlybird delegate rate until 26  March.

  • For iHV Members, just ensure that you have your membership number ready to use as your member discount code to secure your reduced delegate rate.
  • If you are an iHV Champion Member (PIMH, IMH, PMH), SCPHN Student Member or a Retired Health Visitor Member please email [email protected] for details on how to purchase your discounted tickets.
  • If you are not an iHV Member and want to access the special earlybird rate for our members, please join us today to receive your membership number to secure your reduced delegate rate.

Should you need any help at all, please email us on [email protected] for assistance.

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)