Call for better infant mental health services

Infant

Access to service practically impossible for Scots 

19th July 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Thousands of Scots parents and their babies are unable to access treatment for mental health problems because of where they live.

A new NSPCC Scotland campaign, Fight for a Fair Start, is calling for specialist infant mental health services to be available to all babies and families who need them.

Matt Forde, national head for NSPCC Scotland, said there are virtually no services available to families who need them.  

Specialist services which support and build the relationship between parent and baby - known as infant mental health services - during these early months can make a difference and help prevent future problems.

According to the charity up to one in five mums and up to one in 10 dads experience mental health problems during pregnancy and after birth, but getting the right support at the right time isn’t guaranteed.

Even where mums and dads get support for their own mental health, additional support may be required to look after their babies’ developmental needs.

Forde said: “Babies’ healthy development depends entirely upon the relationships around them. Safe and nurturing relationships with their parents or carers can build strong foundations for a young child’s future physical and mental health. Yet, many parents have difficulties in their lives, like their own mental health problems, which can affect their relationship with their new baby.”

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government announced increased investment to improve perinatal mental health services in Scotland but NSPCC Scotland wants the funding to also be targeted at infants’ support needs.  

Forde added: “Babies have mental health needs, too, and yet there are virtually no services at all in Scotland to help them when issues arise. We want to change this. The Scottish Government and Health Boards must ensure that specialist parent-infant mental health support is available wherever it is needed.”