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England: New parents with mental health problems could be overlooked, says NSPCC

04 October 2019

About one in four new parents in England are not seeing a health visitor when their baby turns one, increasing the risk of mental health problems going unnoticed, the NSPCC says.

Preliminary figures from Public Health England for 2018-19 show 77% of children received a 12-month review by the age of one. This compares with 75% for the previous year.

And a Freedom of Information request by the NSPCC, completed by 32 out of 149 local authorities, suggests that 38% of families are not receiving a visit from an HV before the baby is born.

A new NSPCC campaign, Fight for a Fair Start, says one in five mums and one in 10 dads experience mental health problems during pregnancy and after birth.

Head of policy and public affairs Almudena Lara said a decline in staff numbers and rising family caseloads meant HVs were ‘working under significant pressure’.

She added: ‘It’s vitally important that all families receive a minimum of five face-to-face visits undertaken by a consistent HV to ensure any mental health problems they might be experiencing are picked up on as early as possible so they can be signposted for more specialist support.’

Image credit | iStock

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