The Third Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Delivery Plan
Now in the third year of the programme, the theme of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board's work for 2021/22 is 'Delivering in Partnership'. Babies, their families, professionals and services have been on a difficult journey over the past eighteen months as we have all been buffeted by Covid-19. Though more research is needed, we already know that the pandemic has posed additional challenges for women's perinatal mental health especially for women from minority ethnic and socially disadvantaged groups. The pandemic has placed additional strain on services and the staff who work in them, and the usual range of family, social and professional support so important to new mothers, fathers and infants, has reduced (Papworth et al, 2021). Similar vulnerabilities were clear from reports specifically looking at effects on babies (Reed & Parish, 2021; Saunders & Hogg, 2020). The recent Chief Medical Officer's report encourages us to Recover, Restore and Renew our health and care services as we emerge from the pandemic. We can only achieve this by working together, using a trauma informed approach, in partnership with women and their families – across universal and specialist perinatal and infant mental health services, the third sector and peer support services.
The 2021/22 Delivery Plan has two strategic actions – to develop and sustain services in challenging times (Recover and Restore) and to ensure a systems approach to service development and delivery across perinatal and infant mental health (Renew). This year the Programme Board will place particular focus on establishing clear regional structures for the delivery of perinatal and infant mental health services.
The plan also remains driven by the Women and Families Maternal Mental Health Pledge and we expect the Pledge principles to apply to infants who must also have services provided to meet their needs. The plan is also underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Getting It Right For Every Child.