Earlier this month A Better Start Southend joined many others in marking Infant Mental Health Awareness Week (12-16 June 2017). The celebration week highlighted the importance of the first 1001 days of a child’s life, from conception up to the age of two. It continues conversations started in The 1001 Critical Days manifesto, developed by a cross-party coalition to highlight the importance of intervening early to achieve the best outcomes for children.

Understanding that the first few years of a child’s life are absolutely crucial, we place a great deal of importance in early intervention. As well as encouraging local networks to get involved in the conversation around infant mental health, we are delivering a series of services and initiatives that support infant mental health, including:

  • Perinatal Mental Health

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance and the Mental Health Foundation received funding of more than £400k from the Big Lottery Fund for a ‘Mums and Babies in Mind’ project in Blackpool, Haringey, Gloucestershire and Southend. This three-year initiative aims to improve mental health outcomes for mothers during pregnancy and the first year after birth. This is being achieved through educating families about peri-natal mental health, establishing a specialist mental health team, regular workforce development and research based services.

  • Family Nurse Partnership

A Better Start Southend has commissioned the local primary care trust to work in partnership with it to expand existing services. The aim is to grow and adapt an intensive home visiting programme, which is currently offered to young, first time parents. A family nurse works with young mothers and fathers, from early pregnancy until the baby is two years-old, building a therapeutic and supportive relationship with the family.

  • Enhanced Healthy Child Programme

The Healthy Child Programme is the UK’s universal preventative service through which families access screening, immunisation, health and development reviews, as well as support and advice relating to health, well-being and parenting. A Better Start Southend is working with other A Better Start sites in Blackpool, Bradford, Nottingham and Lambeth to review the programme and provide enhancements to improve child outcomes.


More information about: The 1001 Critical Days

Find out more about the Infant Mental Health Awareness Week


Article published June 2017

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