Little Minds Matter helps strengthen the relationship between babies and their parents by delivering the messages about infant mental health to the community, offering training, support and guidance to those working in the area and directly supporting families that need more help.
What will be delivered?
For practitioners: The Little Minds Matter team will be supporting practitioners in the Better Start Bradford area of Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton offering regular training opportunities and consultation on infant mental health (IMH). This can be done individually or in groups offering help and guidance on working with families where there are concerns with the parent-infant relationship.
For parents: The other aspect of the service is for expectant parents and those with a baby up to the age of two living in the Better Start Bradford area. The project will be helping families understand the importance of good mental health and offers an additional service for families where there are concerns or challenges with the parent-infant relationship. Difficulties in pregnancy, a traumatic birth, past parenting experiences, loss or bereavement, low mood or anxiety can all affect how parents feel about their baby and how they make sense of the world.
What is infant mental health?
Infant mental health refers to how well a child develops socially and emotionally from birth to three. Probably the most important period in someone’s life is the time they can’t remember. People often wonder how mental health issues can affect those so young, but healthy first relationships are critical for a baby’s future mental health and development. If a baby feels safe and secure and experiences the world as a consistent, loving place, they will build a healthy brain and grow into a confident person who enjoys happy relationships.
Being pregnant and having a baby can be a special and memorable time in a parent’s life, but it can be a difficult time too. Different emotions, experiences and expectations can get in the way and affect how parents feel in themselves and how they feel about their baby. When extra support is needed, the team can provide more intensive help to parents and their babies in these critical first two years of life.
The team works in Community Health Clinics, Family Hubs and people’s homes across the Better Start Bradford area, and works closely with health visitors, midwives, GPs, Better Start Bradford projects and other professionals offering training, support and guidance so they can help families.
The team is from a variety of backgrounds and includes a clinical psychologist, parent-infant psychotherapist. Other staff are from a Family Nurse Partnership, health visitor or parent-infant background and have significant experience of working in children’s centres. All have many years of experience in working with parents, babies and children and are all trained in the field of early attachment and parent-infant relationships, and offer a wide range of skills and approaches.
Where and when is it delivered? Sessions are offered either one-to-one or in a group. The team will try and see mums and dads at a time and place that is most convenient to them and can include home visits or clinics elsewhere (for example Family Hubs). Support is available Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm.
How do families book on/register? Your GP, midwife, health visitor, mental health practitioner or other healthcare, social or educational professional can refer you to the service. Speak to one of these professionals and let them know how you are feeling and that you want support.
Little Minds Matter is one of more than 20 projects being provided by Better Start Bradford for pregnant women and families with children under four in Little Horton, Bowling and Barkerend and Bradford Moor.