iHV and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) are proud to share a new resource and accompanying evidence to support high-quality Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) Care.

The Institute has worked closely with the MMHA for many years to bring about positive change for the mental health and wellbeing of families and there have been huge strides made, but there is still some way to go:

  • At least 1 in 5 women experience a PMH problem, making mental illness the most common serious health problem that a woman might experience in the perinatal period.
  • Suicide is still the leading cause of death for women when looking across the perinatal period.
  • The 2022 MBRRACE report again highlighted gaps in mortality rates between women from deprived and affluent areas, women of different ages, and women from different ethnic groups.
  • Evidence continues to show that people, who identify as LGBTQI+, experience prejudice and discrimination generally and within healthcare services which can lead to worse physical and mental health in the perinatal period.

This latest project brought us together to think about how we can support developing PMH systems across all four nations. The changing landscape of how care is accessed and delivered offers an opportunity for systems to come together to support inclusive high quality family mental health care and this is what led to the latest collaboration between the iHV and MMHA.  It has led to the iHV undertaking an evidence review, which we feel will be incredibly useful for families, practitioners and services.

The Evidence Review, conducted by the iHV, is is a comprehensive desktop review that brings together key publications, policy guidance, toolkits, research, and reports of families’ and practitioners’ lived experiences. The focus of the review is “what does high-quality perinatal mental health care look like?” for women, birthing people and their families. Key themes and principles emerging from the evidence review are captured in the related resource:

Supporting High-Quality Perinatal Mental Health Care is the new resource drawn from the Evidence Review. It provides a strengths-based action template to enable and inform high-quality care for families impacted by PMH problems – enabling individuals to come together and plan “what good looks like” for them, as practitioners, services, professions, organisations, pathways, networks, and systems. This new resource highlights:

  1. Why improving PMH care is crucial
  2. What good care looks like to both practitioners and families with lived experience
  3. 10 principles of best practice

Karen Middleton, Head of Campaigns and Policy, MMHA, says:

“The iHV’s literature review has been incredibly helpful to understand the wealth of information out there on maternal mental health and what action is still needed to ensure high-quality care is available to all who need it. During the review, several recurring themes quickly emerged as well as clear opportunities for learning across the system, as highlighted in the final resource.

“In recent years, there has been a welcome increase in the understanding of the impact of maternal mental health problems. However, many still face huge barriers to accessing essential care. I hope this work will encourage local systems to have collaborative conversations and help them continue to develop services that provide high-quality maternal mental health support for women and birthing people, babies, and families across the UK.”

 Melita Graham, Head of Mental Health, iHV, says:

“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. Working closely with the Alliance I have seen the power of collective effort and the positive differences this has made. This latest project aims to support all parts of the PMH system to come together, to think together and to act together – we know that when people with a common interest come together, great things can happen!

“The Institute is committed to promoting family mental health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities and driving change. Alongside the MMHA and other partners, we won’t stop until every family, has access to high quality mental health care in the perinatal period. We very much hope that these new resources will enable high quality perinatal mental care irrespective of where a family may live in the UK.”

On No Smoking Day 2021 (#NoSmokingDay 10 March 2021), iHV publishes new Good Practice Points (GPP) for health visitors – Promoting smoke-free families.

No Smoking Day is a national campaign that encourages the nation’s smokers to make a quit attempt on the second Wednesday of March each year. The day is an important opportunity to engage smokers in your local community, encouraging them to quit and access local stop smoking support.

Smoking is the single most modifiable risk factor in pregnancy. In 2019/2020, 10.4% of mothers were recorded as smokers at time of delivery. It is also known that pregnancy can be a time when parents are receptive to make changes to their behaviours.

There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. The best way to protect children from the effects of second-hand smoke is to not smoke during pregnancy and have a completely smoke-free home and car.

This GPP provides up-to-date evidence and references.

Please note that GPPs are available to iHV members.

If you’re not a member, please join us to get access to all of our resources.

The iHV is a self-funding charity – we can only be successful in our mission to strengthen health visiting practice if the health visiting profession and its supporters join us on our journey. We rely on our membership to develop new resources for our members.

So do join us now!

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On International Fathers’ Mental Health Day (#DadsMHDay) 2019, we are delighted that one of our iHV Fellows, Sharin Baldwin, presented at the Talking Dads conference in Blackpool today – organised by the Blackpool Centre for Early Child Development.

Sharin Baldwin RN, RM, RHV, QN, FiHV, iHV Research Champion, BSc (Hons), PG Dip, MSc, NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow, King’s College London Clinical Academic Lead, Nursing and Midwifery, London North West University Healthcare Trust

The Talking Dads Conference brought together a national audience of fellow practitioners, academics and volunteers to discuss the importance of Dads in early years, with leading national experts, including Sharin, in the field of early child development providing a national and international perspective on the innovative work surrounding the role of Dads, and that of men’s mental health and wellbeing.

Updated resource

In addition on #DadsMHDay, we are pleased to share updated resources from Sharin for health visitors:

UPDATED GPP – Understanding father’s mental health & wellbeing during their transition to fatherhood

These updated GPPs set out what health visitors need to know about Understanding  Fathers’ Mental Health & Wellbeing during their transition to parenthood. As part of every contact, HVs should routinely enquire about fathers’ mental health and wellbeing, and offer appropriate support and advice to fathers, as well as mothers.

They provide updated evidence and references.

iHV PIMH Conference – Perinatal and Infant Mental Health: Relationships Matter!

Why not join us at our forthcoming annual Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) Conference where we are delighted to announce that Sharin will be speaking.

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health: Relationships Matter! is being held on 10 September in London – bookings are now open and we do expect tickets to go quickly – our last two conferences have been sold out!

About Sharin

Sharin is a trained nurse, midwife and health visitor. She is a keen advocate for health visiting and her research interest is Mental Health and Wellbeing of Fathers, an area that is fairly neglected. She is currently undertaking a PhD in this area (www.newdadstudy.com) at King’s College London and is the first health visitor to be awarded a Clinical Doctoral Fellowship by NIHR.

Sharin also works as Clinical Academic Lead in London North West Healthcare Trust. She is a Queen’s Nurse, Fellow of the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), iHV Perinatal Mental Health Champion and Health Visitor Research Champion. She has co-authored a book chapter titled ‘Working in Diverse Communities’ in a health visiting text book. Sharin has published several research papers in reputable professional journals and is a peer reviewer for the International Journal of Nursing Studies, Primary Health Care Research and Development, Midwifery and the Institute of Health Visiting. Sharin is also on the editorial board for the Journal of Health Visiting.


During Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, iHV is delighted to share new Good Practice Points providing up-to-date evidence and references for our members:

NEW: GPP – Working with birth trauma

The iHV partnered with Dr Kirstie McKenzie-McHarg (Consultant Clinical Psychologist, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust), Dr Camilla Rosan (Head of Early Years, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families) and Professor Susan Ayers (Professor of Maternal and Child Health, School of Sciences, City University of London) to produce this new GGP.

The majority of women in the UK have birth experiences which are not traumatic, but for those that do a percentage may go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Birth trauma and PTSD can leave parents distressed and struggling with their mental health, their relationship with each other and their relationship with their infant.

It is vital that health visitors and others working with families in the perinatal period understand the potential impact of birth trauma, how to recognise it and what to do.

Please note that GPPs are available to iHV members only.

If you’re not a member, please join us to get access to all of our resources.

The iHV is a self-funding charity – we can only be successful in our mission to strengthen health visiting practice if the health visiting profession and its supporters join us on our journey. We rely on our membership to develop new resources for our members.

So do join us now!

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A new resource that will improve conversations about physical activity between patients and healthcare professionals has been launched.

The new digital Moving Medicine tool will help healthcare professionals advise patients on how physical activity can help to manage their conditions, prevent disease and aid recovery.

It is produced by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and Sport England with support from National Lottery funding.

Currently one in four of the population in England does less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and are classified as inactive.

Physical inactivity is in the top 10 greatest causes of ill health nationally, with negative impacts on health, wellbeing, social and economic outcomes for individuals and communities.

The tool focuses on helping to address the most common long term health conditions affecting the population, such as cancer, depression, musculoskeletal pain and type 2 diabetes.

Developed in consultation with over 300 healthcare professionals and patients and using evidence-based step-by-step guidance, Moving Medicine is designed to provide healthcare professionals with the latest evidence to address this knowledge and skills gap in the NHS and support healthier outcomes for patients as a result.

The Clinical Policy Unit at NHS England has provided links to resources around sepsis which would helpful for parents/and carers of children. So please do share with your parents and families.

The resources they recommend are:

For our members, we keep links to resources in our A-Z Library of resources. Please see  our Sepsis resource page 

If you’re not a member, please join us to get access to all of our resources.

The iHV is a self-funding charity – we can only be successful in our mission to strengthen health visiting practice if the health visiting profession and its supporters join us on our journey. We rely on our membership to develop new resources for our members.

So do join us now!

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The new “Eating Disorders in Pregnancy” animation launched this week (during Eating Disorders week).

iHV has worked with the Greater Manchester and North West Coast iHV PIMH Champions Forum, the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London and others to develop the research base for eating disorders in the perinatal period. Eating Disorders are a serious mental illness, characterised by disturbance of eating that significantly impairs health and psychosocial functioning.

Eating disorders affect approximately 7.5% of pregnant women and can impact on maternal and infant outcomes. Researchers at King’s College London have translated research on eating disorders during pregnancy and motherhood into practical training resources to help healthcare professionals provide the best care for pregnant women and mothers.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“It’s been a real pleasure for the Institute and its Perinatal and Infant  Mental Health Champions to work with the Institute of Psychiatry team to help them undertake this research and produce this superb new resource. We hope that it will be disseminated and used widely to raise awareness of eating disorders amongst all health professionals working with women in the perinatal period.”

Follow the twitter chat at #EDandPregnancy and follow on twitter at @EDandPregnancy


The iHV is delighted to share updated Good Practice Points (providing up-to-date evidence and references for our Associate members) and updated Parent Tips on Umbilical Granuloma.

Umbilical granulomas are one of the most common umbilical conditions to occur in neonates. A granuloma results from an overgrowth of cord tissue remaining after separation of the cord.

Updated GPP – Treatment of Umbilical Granuloma using Household Salt.

These Good Practice Points (updated 2017), authored by Alison Timmins, Health Visitor, Leicestershire Partnership Trust, set out what health visitors need to know about the Treatment of Umbilical Granuloma using Household Salt. Health visitors are well-placed to assess umbilical granuloma and offer advice on its treatment. This GPP provides up-to-date evidence and references.

Updated Parent Tips – Understanding Umbilical Granuloma

An umbilical granuloma is an overgrowth of tissue during the healing process of the belly button (umbilicus). It usually looks like a soft pink or red lump and often is wet or leaks small amounts of clear or yellow fluid. It is most common in the first few weeks of a baby’s life. These Parent Tips explain to parents what could happen with their baby’s tummy button.

Please note that  GPPs are available to iHV members only.

If you’re not a member, please join us to get access to all of our resources.

The iHV is a self-funding charity – we can only be successful in our mission to strengthen health visiting practice if the health visiting profession and its supporters join us on our journey. We rely on our membership to develop new resources for our members.

So do join us now!

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The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is pleased to announce a new training programme and an updated handbook designed to assist health visitors going through their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revalidation.

It is now almost 18 months since the launch of NMC revalidation supporting the professional registration and license to practise as health visitors. It is estimated that almost half of registered health visitors are still to revalidate and may not yet have given much thought to the process. So, to support those health visitors still to undergo revalidation for the first time, the Institute has developed new training and updated resources to help them through the process.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director of the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“Revalidation is a welcome way to support and develop health visitors’ practise – thereby ensuring the standards of our profession. We collected feedback from our Fellows and iHV team members who have already undertaken revalidation, and developed a new workshop to help all health visitors with their revalidation requirements.

“Our popular ‘Route to Revalidation’ handbook has also been updated to keep it in line with NMC guidance. We hope these new resources will guide and inspire those who are to undergo revalidation.

“The workshops are relaxed and informal – the first one takes place on 9 October in London.  This workshop will go through the process of revalidation and the paperwork required, and offer iHV tools and guidance specifically developed for health visitors working in all areas of practice, whether clinical, managerial, teaching or research. It will also provide the opportunity to share any concerns, check facts, and the chance to complete part of the requirements for revalidation whilst in a supportive environment.”


The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is delighted to announce the publication of new resources to help health visitors support families and children after traumatic events – such as car accidents, violence, illnesses and operations and also large-scale incidents such as those recently at Grenfell Tower and the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena.  Developed together with the Mental Health Foundation, the new Good Practice Points provide evidence-based information for health visitors to help them to support families after a traumatic event, and the new Parent Tips provides information to parents to help them to support their children after such an event.


Traumatic events can be defined as direct or indirect experiences that put either a person or someone close to them at risk of serious harm or death. Examples of traumatic events are: road accidents; experiencing or witnessing violence; abuse; serious illnesses or invasive medical procedures; dog bites; human accidents such as fires. More rare traumatic events include: natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, serious floods or hurricanes; a terrorist attack; conditions of war.

Children will react in different ways to a traumatic event and how they react may also depend slightly on their age and where they are at in their development. However, whatever their age, they are likely to experience a range of changes in their thinking, emotions, behaviour and physical responses. For most children, these symptoms will go away on their own after a few weeks. However, for 10-30% of children who have experienced a traumatic event, they go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can have adverse long-term effects on child development and adjustment.


Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director of the Institute of Health Visiting, commented:

“With more than two thirds of children experiencing at least one traumatic event by the time they are 16 years old, we need to be able to provide good support to them and their families.  Through mandated contacts with families, health visitors build good trusted relationships with all families and are, therefore, well placed to provide guidance and support at these difficult times. We very much hope that this new guidance will help both families and health visitors manage these enormously challenging circumstances with more knowledge of what will help.”

Dr Camilla Rosan, who was the lead author on the resources, and Clinical Psychologist at the Mental Health Foundation said:

“Experiencing a frightening event can understandably really shake up a family and it can be hard to know what to do for the best. Many families find it particularly challenging to know how to support younger children and infants who might not be able to clearly let you know, or even be aware, how the traumatic event might have affected them. We hope that these materials will help reassure professionals and families that changes are completely normal and, for most children, will not continue beyond a few weeks. However, for those that do not get better on their own, it reaffirms the importance of seeking professional mental health support and accessing evidence-based treatments.”