A series of events are planned across the country during the UK’s first national Infant Mental Health Awareness Week.
A London conference along with local networking events will highlight the key role of services such as children’s centres in preventing the impact of disruption and mental health problems later on in life.
Charity the Parent Infant Partnership (PIP UK) is behind the themed events to be held between 6 and 10 June.
Among the week’s supporters is 1001 Critical Days, a cross-party coalition of MPs promoting the importance of development to age two.
Robin Balbernie, clinical director at PIP UK, said crucial to the success of an infant mental health programme would be to ‘stop the closure of children’s centres’.
He said, ‘There are many things that get in the way of parents paying attention to their babies. The idea is that you intervene at as low a level as possible, before disruption happens.
‘This could be within the children’s centre environment, working in family parenting groups. And then, if there is disruption, you need to make sure you’ve got the back-up, such as from an infant mental health team. That may be one-to-one work, psychotherapy.’
Mr Balbernie added that PIP is setting up infant mental health (IMH) teams across the country. A statement on PIP’s website said IMH is made up of ‘infant characteristics, caregiver-infant relationships, and the environmental contexts within which infant-parent relationships take place’.
- Further information can be found at www.infantmentalhealthweek.com.