“Strengthening perinatal mental health services for families across England using iHV Perinatal Mental Health Champions” is the title of this afternoon’s policy session being delivered by Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director of the iHV, and 2 iHV Fellows at the LGA/ADPH Annual Public Health Conference in London, to promote the importance of a universal health visiting service for perinatal mental health.
A health visiting service at 6-8 weeks and 3-4 months is essential to detect postnatal depression and other perinatal mental illness promptly before it has an impact beyond the mother on the child and family unit. Health visitors can do this but only if they are commissioned in sufficient numbers to also follow through with the support the mother/family requires.
Cheryll, together with iHV Fellows Melita Walker and Sharin Baldwin, will share information on the iHV perinatal mental health champions who exist in almost every organisation employing health visitors across England – whose core remit is to ensure all health visitors are trained to the iHV standard for working with mothers and fathers who may be suffering perinatal mental illness.
The iHV has created over 500 Champions, with the total reach of our training being to over 10,000, including many others requiring awareness training in perinatal mental health. These include social workers, children’s centre workers, midwives and many more.
During the policy session, they describe the PMH Champions programme and the many other innovations for health improvement involving the whole multi-professional team around the child and family, including a case study and opportunities for discussion with the audience.
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Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting (chair); Melita Walker, iHV Perinatal Mental Health Officer; Sharin Baldwin, Clinical, Academic and Innovations Lead (Health Visiting), London NW Healthcare NHS Trust