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.’

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