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We have endeavoured to pull together a variety of resources to support healthcare professionals working in mental health.

Good Practice Points

This selection of our Good Practice Points around Mental Health and Mental Health issues have been written by topic experts, health visitors and others using the most up-to-date evidence.

All our Good Practice Points are available to iHV members only – login using your password to gain access. If you are not a member join us today.

Those who work alongside health visitors in public health related areas may join the iHV as Friends to access all our documents.

As a charity, the iHV relies on its membership income to continue to produce such resources – so please do support us.


Good Practice Points - Minority Groups

This selection of our Good Practice Points in working with Minority groups have been written by topic experts, health visitors and others using the most up-to-date evidence.

All our Good Practice Points are available to iHV members only – login using your password to gain access. If you are not a member join us today.

Those who work alongside health visitors in public health related areas may join the iHV as Friends to access all our documents.

As a charity, the iHV relies on its membership income to continue to produce such resources – so please do support us.



Working with different cultures


Please see our Fathers resources webpage for a number of resources for healthcare professionals to raise awareness of what father-inclusive pathways look like, tools to help you reflect on your own practice in relation to fathers, top tips for reaching out and engaging with fathers plus additional signposting and information .


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Perinatal Mental Health Competency Framework for Professionals and Volunteers who support Infant Feeding

This toolkit shares learning, information and advice for commissioners and providers who want to set up, improve or expand parent-infant relationship teams in the UK.

In it, you will find insight and learning from practice experts, team managers, researchers, academics, commissioners and programme developers. Each of the chapters addresses an important aspect of developing and running a specialised parent-infant relationship team. You are encouraged to start with Chapter 1 to cover key concepts before selecting those chapters most relevant to you.

Competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviours that enable practitioners to deliver high-quality care and the continuous improvement of services. This competency framework has been developed for all staff working with infants and their parent/s/caregivers from pregnancy to the second year of life, to support parent/s/caregiver to promote healthy infant development. It is informed by research, theory and evidence-based practice, and designed to raise standards of care for families by supporting all staff to optimize their learning and skills.

It has been developed to standardize competencies for infant mental health practice. This will help to ensure the workforce is suitably skilled to identify need and deliver care to parent/s/caregiver who is pregnant or have a baby, and to both promote the mental health of the baby and provide access to appropriate evidence-based treatment where there are problems, as outlined in the Healthy Child Programme (DH, 2009; 2014).

The IMH Competency Framework (IMHCF) lists a number of competencies over three levels. The three levels distinguish between (1) general knowledge and skills, (2) advanced knowledge and skills, and (3) the knowledge and skills required to supervise and manage.

This edition of Health matters sets out the scale of the problem and presents actions that local areas can take to reduce health inequalities, improve physical health and life chances of people living with mental illness.

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PHE Health Matters reducing health inequalities in mental illness (short version)

New advice on perinatal mental health services for women, their partners and their families has been launched by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in partnership with NHS England and Health Education England.

The ‘Building Capacity, psychiatry leadership in perinatal mental health services’ project has released a new set of perinatal mental health leaflets written jointly by perinatal psychiatrists, women with lived experience of perinatal mental illness, and their partners.

Written jointly by perinatal psychiatrists, women with lived experience of perinatal mental illness, and their partners, they provide details on what services are available and how to access help. Access the following online from the RCSPYCH:

The child and maternal health section of the PHE FingerTips Tool brings together a range of publicly available data, information, reports, tools and resources on child and maternal health into one easily accessible hub. It helps you find and use the information and evidence you need to improve decision making as part of your planning or commissioning process. The data is regularly updated as new releases become available.

A ‘one-stop’ hub of resources to support GPs to deliver the best possible care to patients with perinatal mental health conditions.

Tools developed by the Mums and Babies in Mind team for leaders working in perinatal mental health including:  maternity services and GPs, commissioning, health visiting, midwifery, FNP, specialist perinatal mental health services, community and children’s services, adult mental health services, CAMHS and third sector.

This curricular framework sets out the different levels of knowledge and skills required by members of the Scottish workforce, who have contact with mothers and their babies, so they can support mothers, babies and their families to have positive well-being and good mental health during the perinatal period and to intervene in a timely and helpful way when mental ill-health is present.

The purpose of this chapter, and the mental health and wellbeing JSNA toolkit overall, is to support people developing the mental health and wellbeing content of their local joint strategic needs assessment. It provides easy access to nationally available topic focused information, guidance and knowledge.

Films and Videos

Short film - Health Visitors: for every family

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), working together with parents and Solent NHS Trust, is delighted to share a short film to highlight the value and breadth of the role of the health visitor in relation to family mental health and wellbeing outcomes. The film is relevant for health visitors across the UK, and you can use it to promote the work that you do – so please do use and share it.

Produced as part of the Interreg 2Seas PATH project, the film raises the profile of the universal UK health visiting programme, where every family has access to a highly skilled and well-trained health visitor. It showcases the unique opportunity and skills that health visitors have to build relationships and the support that health visitors can offer where additional concerns about parental mental health or the parent-infant relationship are identified.

Created to appeal to parents, health and social care practitioners, government policymakers and commissioners, the film offers insights into a ‘day in the life’ of a UK health visitor, demonstrating the impact of open, trusting relationships and highlighting the importance of continuity of health visitor in building a sense of partnership with parents and families.

NHS England and NHS Improvement: Perinatal Mental Health Quick Guide for Health Professionals (August 2019)

One in five women experience a perinatal mental health problem during their pregnancy and in the first year after the birth. This short video aims to raise awareness of Perinatal Mental Health for health professionals like GPs, Health Visitors and Midwives. Health professionals can play an important role in spotting red flags early and help make sure families get the right support as soon as possible.

NHS England: Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Video - Antenatal Education (January 2019)

This video has been created to be shown to women and their families during the course of antenatal education and can be used by NHS health professionals in educational classes. It covers antenatal anxiety, maternal obsessive compulsive disorder, postnatal anxiety, postpartum psychosis, and postnatal depression.

NHS England: Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Video - Postnatal Education (January 2019)

This video has been created to be shown to perinatal women and their families during educational classes and can be used by NHS health professionals with women in the postnatal period. It covers birth trauma, postnatal depression and a partner’s perspective of antenatal depression, postnatal anxiety, and bonding difficulties.

Perinatal Mental Health Service | Surrey Partnership NHS Trust

Rosewood Mother and Baby Unit - KMPT NHS

Rosewood Mother and Baby Unit (MBU)

Perinatal Positivity

iHV is delighted to be a partner in the making of this film.

Perinatal Positivity uses the real voices and experiences of women and men who have had mental wellbeing difficulties around the time of pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. We hope it will help you emotionally prepare and find support, if needed, at this time. There is a subtitled version of the film on the clips page.

Click here for more information

How the brain develops, grows, and learns throughout our lives

A two-minute animated introduction to brain development

Eating Disorders in Pregnancy animation

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.

Channel 4 News - Cuts to vital service for new parents and babies scrutinised

Broadcast in April 2018 – Victoria Macdonald, Health & Social Care Correspondent at Channel 4 News, investigates the cuts to a vital service for new parents and babies – health visitors. It means mental health problems like depression are often not being picked up. She finds out what impact that’s having on the health service front line.

Why the role of the health visitor helps give every child the best start in life

iHV news-style programme on the vital role of health visitors – which forms part of ‘The Public’s Health Across The Life Course’ series, coordinated by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), in partnership with ITN Productions. Broadcast in October 2017.

Thanks to Whittington Health and Haringey Children’s Community Service for their support in making this programme and all the health visitors and parents who made it possible.

Transition to Parenthood

Dr Crispin Day – Centre for Parent and Child Support South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust – talks about the importance of transition to parenthood for the developing infant and parents, and the unique position health visitors hold to support parents in their journey to improve the outcomes for children and families.

Maternal Mental Health

Dr Jane Hanley – health visitor and recent past president of the International Marcé Society talks about the importance of maternal mental health and the unique position health visitors are in to support the whole family.

Dr Liz MacDonald-Clifford – Consultant Psychiatrist shares an introduction to Post-partum Psychosis.

Dr Liz MacDonald-Clifford – Consultant Psychiatrist shares symptoms of Post-partum Psychosis.

Dr Liz MacDonald-Clifford – Consultant Psychiatrist shares symptoms of Schizophrenia as seen in new parents.

Dr Liz MacDonald-Clifford – Consultant Psychiatrist shares how to recognise delusional thinking in parents.

Dr Liz MacDonald-Clifford – Consultant Psychiatrist shares when mothers may be admitted to a Mother and Baby unit.

Spot the Signs - Domestic Slavery

Modern Slavery can happen anywhere and to anyone who is vulnerable.  This video is part of a new community-led pilot to raise awareness of domestic servitude taking place in UK households.

Call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or report online ( if you are worried about someone.

Mosaic Films - stories of postnatal depression

Animated Minds: Stories of Postnatal Depression is a series of 5 films highlighting personal stories of perinatal mental health issues. Animation is combined with personal testimony to give honesty and power to the narratives of 5 parents who have endured the trauma, fear and anxiety of mental distress before ultimately finding a way through.

This series was produced for Wellcome Trust and the Maudsley Charity.

APP - Personal Experiences

Action on Postpartum Psychosis – a collection of personal stories, poetry, art & videos created by women, their partners or family and friends who have experienced PP.


The iHV issued this briefing to help our perinatal mental health (PMH) champions, and health visitors in general, interpret the NICE Guidance (192) in relation to health visiting (HV) interventions.

To read NICE Guidance (national Clinical Guideline Number 192)

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iHV briefing for HVs on new NICE Guidance on Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health (Dec 2014)

Other useful resources

NHS Guidance - Involving and supporting partners and other family members in specialist perinatal mental health services: good practice guide

This good practice guidance, about involving and supporting partners and significant others, is for commissioners and those working in specialist perinatal mental health services.

The guide describes how to provide:

  • women and their families with a positive experience of care, with services joined up around them
  • care that involves and supports partners and families in ways that can improve outcomes for all family members.

Guidance Document on Valproate Use in Women and Girls of Childbearing Years (January 2021)

Updated guidance on the prescription of valproate for female patients during childbearing years has been published.

The iHV is delighted to have contributed to the guidance which has been produced to inform all healthcare professionals of best practice around the use and prescribing of valproate and to support them to navigate situations that could arise as a result of prescribing valproate to women during childbearing years, given the significant risk of birth defects and developmental disorders that can occur if it is taken during pregnancy.

First published in 2019, the updated guidance reflects minor changes made by the MHRA and changes to GMC decision-making guidelines, as well as updated input from all contributing organisations, to give healthcare professionals updated practical information and guidance on prescribing valproate to women with bipolar disorder or epilepsy, the only licensed indications for its use.

MHRA Guidance - Safer Medicines in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Consortium

The Safer Medicines in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Consortium has launched their strategy (Jan 21). A major initiative to ensure pregnant and breastfeeding women can make informed decisions about their healthcare.

Report of the Commission on Human Medicines Expert Working Group on Optimising Data on Medicines used During Pregnancy

The Expert Working Group was set up to to identify ways to improve data collection and access to information relevant to research on medicines used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

A rapid review of the impact of quarantine and restricted environments on children's play and the role of play in children's health

Amidst the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic, there is uncertainty regarding potential lasting impacts on children’s health and educational outcomes. Play, a fundamental part of childhood, may be integral to children’s health during crises. We undertook a rapid review of the impact of quarantine, isolation and other restrictive environments on play and whether play mitigates adverse effects of such restrictions

Wales Perinatal Mental Health Network Newsletter - Jan 2021

Perinatal Mental Health Treatment

This page includes dedicated resources for clinicians and health professionals, including guides which accompany selected self-help treatments on this website.

Antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy: updated advice following comprehensive safety review (December 2020)

A review of the risks of major congenital malformations and of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes for antiepileptic drugs by the Commission on Human Medicines has confirmed that lamotrigine (Lamictal) and levetiracetam (Keppra) are the safer of the medicines reviewed during pregnancy. This review was initiated in the context of the known harms of valproate in pregnancy, which should only be prescribed to women of childbearing potential if there is a pregnancy prevention programme in place.

Brief guidance for safe enquiry about domestic abuse in ‘virtual’ health settings

This guidance is to support health professionals to safely ask patients about domestic abuse (DA) in virtual settings for example on the telephone or online. It sets out five simple steps to help you identify and respond to people who might be at risk.

Inspiring Scotland - Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Third Sector Service Directory Find Support Near You

This directory lists organisations across Scotland who currently offer perinatal and infant mental health support. This information has been provided by the listed organisations themselves and therefore Inspiring Scotland cannot be held responsible for: information found to be incorrect or for any of the services offered.#

MHE: Short Guide to Psychiatric Drugs

Mental Health Europe (MHE) has launched a new resource for people experiencing mental health difficulties.   

One Plus One - Coping with Stress and Alcohol - A guide for supporting parents

OnePlusOne has launched “Coping with Stress and Alcohol – A guide for supporting parents” the latest in a series of practitioner guides.

This accompanies a digital resource for parents where stress and drinking alcohol is an issue:

Letters of Light project

A Letter of Light is a handwritten letter of peer support written by a mum with lived experience of a maternal mental health (MMH) illness and sent to a mum currently suffering.

  • A compassionate letter a mum can read when in need of a little light
  • A letter she can use to help start a conversation with loved ones about how she’s feeling
  • A peer support letter a MMH professional can use to aide a patient’s recovery

Mothers Object Relations Scales (MORS)

Website for perinatal mental health practitioners and researchers giving free access to tools and guidance on using the MORS-SF and MORS-Child tools, as well as details and links to related research and validation studies.

This collection of eLearning modules, podcasts and screencasts aims to inform and update all members of the general practice team on particularly important aspects of primary care for LGBT people, to improve both experience and outcomes for our patients. It was produced with the help of a grant by the Government Equalities Office and with the guidance of the RCGP’s LGBT+ steering group.

It’s free to access but requires set up of a basic RCGP membership (no cost.

The purpose of this resource is to provide insights, guidance and advice for public sector service providers and commissioners who are looking to adopt gender-sensitive trauma-informed approaches in their own organisations.


A team of Princeton researchers has conducted the first study of how baby and adult brains interact during natural play, and they found measurable similarities in their neural activity. In other words, baby and adult brain activity rose and fell together as they shared toys and eye contact.

Early neglect and trauma on children can have substantial negative outcomes later on in life. These potentially traumatic events are called adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This report from the London Assembly Health Committee examines three ACEs which commonly co-occur (domestic violence and abuse, parental mental ill-health and parental alcohol and drug misuse) to assess how access to and support from services could be improved.

This infographic illustrates the relationship between ACEs – Adverse Childhood Experiences – and toxic stress.

Early interactions with caregivers can dramatically affect your beliefs about yourself, your expectations of others, and how you cope with stress and regulate your emotions as an adult

MBRRACE-UK: Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care Report for 2019 (December 2019)

The sixth MBRRACE-UK collaboration’s annual report Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care led by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit shows that the number of women dying as a consequence of complications during or after pregnancy remains low in the UK – fewer than 10 of every 100,000 pregnant women die in pregnancy or around childbirth.


The Birth Charter is a set of recommendations for the care of pregnant women and new mothers in prison. It was developed in consultation with service users and with guidance from the Royal College of Midwives and UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative. It is intended to help inform both policy and practice relating to the care and treatment of these vulnerable women and their babies, covering a range of issues from antenatal care and birth partners to breastfeeding, family visits and counselling.

The Perinatal Peer Support Principles are a set of five values designed to give peer supporters the confidence to create and deliver peer support that meets the needs of women and families affected by mental health problems during pregnancy or the postnatal period.

Adherence to the principles should help ensure that peer support during this important time is:

  • safe
  • inclusive
  • informed
  • benefitting everyone involved
  • distinct from – but closely connected to – clinical perinatal mental health services.

A report into Migrant mothers’ mental health communication in the perinatal period, published by the University of Surrey, has found that health visitors are disappointed with their support for perinatal migrant women and if they could go back, they would change how they assessed and supported women. The health visitors interviewed for the report all agreed that language was a barrier to engaging women, as was their lack of training in working with migrant women and understanding the cultural differences. They want to receive training in developing therapeutic relationships and skills to facilitate listening visits.

Baby Loss Awareness Week campaign report 2019 calls on Governments across the UK to take action to ensure that all parents who experience pregnancy and baby loss and need specialist psychological support can access it, at a time and place that is right for them, free of charge, wherever they live.

Healthwatch England report shares what parents have told about their experiences of mental health problems during and after pregnancy, and calls on services to give people more opportunities to talk about their mental wellbeing.

Center on the Developing Child - Epigenetics and Child Development: How Children’s Experiences Affect Their Genes (February 2019)

PiP(UK) Infographics

Collection of information from NHS England on their PMH plans

This information is for the partners, family and friends of any woman with Perinatal OCD.

These three principles can guide decision-makers as they choose among policy alternatives, design new approaches, and shift existing practice in ways that will best support building healthy brains and bodies. They point to a set of key questions: What are current policies, systems, or practices doing to address each principle? What could be done to address them better? What barriers prevent addressing them more effectively?

NEST’s research aims to improve support for the mental health and wellbeing of new fathers in the UK. You may find the links to additional resources and helplines useful in the resources section.

The Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health has developed a suite of mental health promotion and prevention resources for supporting recovery and building resilience in the context of disasters. The resources are for pregnancy and early parenting, and for infants and young children. There are children’s storybooks to support children who have experienced different disasters.

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Muslim Women's Network - Mental Health & Muslim Communities

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WAIMH Position Paper on the Rights of Infants

Mental Health Europe has created this map which gathers helplines or support organisations for young people in all European countries. In a few clicks, this interactive map will help you find more details on support services for young people in your country.