Health Visitors receive training in mental health to support new parents on Wednesday 01 March 2017 Health Visitors receive training in mental health to support new parents Image

Greater support will be available to new parents suffering from mental health problems thanks to specialist training given to Jersey Health Visitors.

A group of Jersey funders joined forces to help boost the professional knowledge and skills of local health visitors through two days of training by specialists from the Institute of Health Visiting.

Health Visitors work across the island with all families in Jersey from the antenatal period until the child enters school, offering four levels of service, dependent upon identified child and family need.  

FNHC has recently implemented an intensive home visiting programme designed to support clients at home where there are additional needs. The programme focuses from the antenatal period until the child is aged two years. Its aim is to improve maternal wellbeing, parent & child health and development outcomes. There are now over 100 families on the programme.

FNHC found that a significant number of these mothers were experiencing mental health issues such as postnatal depression or difficulty in interacting with their babies and required specific support in this area.

Thanks to a small group of funders including Roberts Garage, the Robert Hall Foundation and The Sir James Knott Trust, all of Jersey’s Health Visitors have now undergone advanced training in perinatal (mother & infant) mental health.

This training is given to Health Visitors in the UK and has a well-developed evidence base in terms of helping to improve parent/child attachment, parenting support and lifelong child development.

Karen Spence from the Sir James Knott Trust said, “We were delighted to support this very necessary and important training.”

Michelle Fletcher, Health Visitor at FNHC said, ‘The training was great. It was particularly useful in helping to identify the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and will enable us to arrange early intervention where necessary.’

Michelle Cumming, Operational Lead for Child & Family Services at FNHC, said, “Our Health Visitors were impressed at how helpful the training has been.  Straight away it has had a positive impact on practice and the feedback highlighted how working with parents will be enhanced by this training. The training has given them practical tools to use in helping to look after those families where mental health issues arise.”