The iHV has been delighted to work with Victoria Macdonald, Health and Social Care Correspondent at Channel 4 News, to make a short film on the complex role of the health visitor in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) and how the recent cuts to the public health budgets are impacting on the mental health care from health visitors that families may receive. The film is due to be broadcast on Channel 4 news this evening (Wed 4 April) between 7pm and 8pm. 

Update 5/4/18: Link to the film has been added at the bottom of this news story.

Melita Walker, iHV, being interviewed by Victoria Macdonald from Channel 4 news

Victoria has worked for almost 20 years with Channel 4 and is a fantastic advocate for the mental health of women and their families. We are very grateful for her commitment to improving perinatal and infant mental health and look forward to her opening the iHV’s first national multi-agency PIMH Conference (24 April in Manchester) to talk about her experiences of the hidden challenges in PIMH.

Time to develop quality relationships between health visitors and parents is key to public acceptability and effectiveness for promoting sensitive and responsive parenting and to parents disclosing emotional vulnerability when experiencing mental distress. Health visiting services should be staffed and organised in order to facilitate this (Cowley, et al., 2013).

The iHV would like to sincerely thank the team at Channel 4 News and all those who have been involved in supporting the making of this feature – in particular, City Health Care Partnership (CHCP) in Hull, CHCP health visitors Rebecca Price, Debbie Jackson, Fiona Nevet and Shirley Simpson who were absolutely fantastic and kindly gave up their time to support the filming in Hull. Also Mark Edwards, health visitor and Mental Health Advisor, University of Central Lancashire. Mostly, of course, our thanks go to the mums and their families who, in the hope of improving care for families and raising parity of esteem for mental health in the perinatal period, shared their own personal experiences on camera – Jane, Heidi and Dana, we really can’t thank you enough!


Shirley Simpson being interviewed by Victoria Macdonald from Channel 4 news

Hannah Bissett, Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP), commented:

“As the national charity for women and families affected by Postpartum Psychosis, we are excited to hear about the iHV feature on Channel 4 this evening with Victoria Macdonald, including our volunteer Jane. Through our partnership with the iHV, Jane and other volunteers have shared their experiences of postpartum psychosis during iHV’s Perinatal Champions training to add the voice of lived experience to this vital area”.

From left: Shirley Simpson, Rebecca Price, Melita Walker and Victoria Macdonald

From left: Shirley Simpson, Rebecca Price, Melita Walker and Victoria Macdonald

Update 5/4/18: