North Lincolnshire council, the CCG and our health partners are raising awareness of the importance of looking after the emotional wellbeing of babies and toddlers during Infant Mental Health Awareness Week (10 to 16 June).
The importance of infant mental health isn’t always recognised in the same way as it is for older children and adults.
Babies develop positive emotional wellbeing through receiving consistently responsive and loving care which teaches them that the world is a safe place. This helps them to better manage their emotions and form positive relationships as they grow and develop.
There is now a wide range of evidence that demonstrates the importance of the period from conception to age two in laying strong foundations for later life, including physical and mental health, language development and learning.
The council is working with key partners including North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust to raise awareness, as well as provide support for all parents-to-be and new parents around the care their baby needs.
This builds upon the work already done to promote close and loving relationships as part of the UNICEF ‘Baby Friendly Initiative’.
It also ties in with the work being done through the Imagination Library in North Lincolnshire, which encourages parents and carers to read to their children from birth to create positive emotional connections.
Early emotional wellbeing is a key factor in determining to what extent individuals will make the most of life’s opportunities, including education, and how they will manage later relationships with partners and their own children.
All parents can access support regarding caring for their babies from their midwife, health visitor or children’s centre. For more details on infant mental health and the support available, go towww.northlincs.gov.uk/infantmentalhealth (live from 6 June 2018).
Cllr David Rose, cabinet member for Children, Families, Learning and Leisure, said:
“We are committed to ensuring that all children receive the best possible start in life. We don’t often think of babies as having a mental health and therefore isn’t something we talk about as much as adult mental health, but it is just as important.
“When babies receive consistently loving and responsive care from attentive parents and carers they are in a better position to thrive and meet their potential in life.
“Throughout Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, we will be raising awareness of the importance of infant emotional wellbeing, early education and providing support for parents and carers, and signposting to other services.”
“It’s important babies and toddlers are able to get the best possible start in life,” said Dr Faisel Baig, local GP and Chair of NHS North Lincolnshire CCG. “A child’s wellbeing comes from healthy development surrounded by a nurturing environment. Even in their earliest years, infants form emotional attachments and the loving relationships that often set out how their future mental health will develop.”
Christina Harrison, Children’s Care Group Director for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) said:
“Our health visitors work closely with North Lincolnshire families to provide expert information, assessments and interventions during the early years. We know how vital it is to ensure every child has the best start in life. Our team is always on hand to support all parents and carers wanting advice.”
Further details throughout the week and key messages will be shared on social media. Follow us: www.facebook.com/northlincscouncil and on Twitter @northlincscnews.