Increase in contacts to the NSPCC Helpline about parental mental health concerns
From the first to the third week of lockdown the number of adults that contacted the NSPCC Helpline about parental mental health increased by just over a quarter (28%)1.
Before the pandemic up to 1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads experienced perinatal mental health problems. But there are concerns that the uncertainty of the coronavirus and social isolation is putting more pressure on parents while reducing their access to support.
We brought together health visitors, a midwife, and a psychiatrist from a specialist perinatal care team for a unique virtual roundtable.
The panel revealed their services have rapidly adapted to support parents digitally, and shared concerns about:
- the immediate effect of lockdown on new mother’s mental health
- potential long-term impact on babies’ health and development.
According to the Institute of Health Visiting, in some areas of England at least 50% of highly skilled health visitors, including some from perinatal mental health and parent-infant teams that would normally support parents and safeguard babies were redeployed into other health services in the initial period of the lockdown.
"This can be such a lonely experience at the best times for a new mum, so it must be incredibly frightening for parents going through it in the midst of this crisis. It can be hard to tell someone you’re struggling which is why it is so important that parents have access to support services. This means vulnerable mothers can be signposted on to the help they will so desperately need."
Natalie, a mother from Nottinghamshire
Our Fight for a Fair Start Campaign is urging the government to think about the support available for parents as we come out of lockdown and to come up with a plan to rebuild health visiting and perinatal services after the crisis, so that all new parents receive the support they need at every stage.