Health visitors, midwives and A&E nurses are among the groups of healthcare professionals being targeted to become perinatal mental health champions as part of a new training scheme in South West England.
The scheme follows a review of NHS perinatal and infant mental health services in the region last year, which found there was a need for generic, multi-professional training to increase skills and confidence among the non-medical workforce to identify and manage mental health issues in mothers.
”The champions, once trained, will cascade the training to other staff to help ensure safer care during the perinatal period”
South West Strategic Clinical Group
Healthcare organisations are now being asked to nominate members of staff for the training who will then be expected to pass on their learning to other colleagues.
The initiative, run by national organisation the Institute of Health Visiting in collaboration with the South West Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Network, will also be open to community nurses, mental health nurses and health care support workers.
Those taking part will learn how to define both perinatal and infant mental health, be aware of the range of associated conditions, and understand the clinical features of the most common illnesses.
Participants will also be taught about relevant guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and recommended screening tools, as well as the challenges in identifying and supporting families affected by perinatal and infant mental health problems.
Information about nationally-recommended interventions and support as well as local services will also be included.
The scheme – which is funded by Health Education England – will see two-day training sessions take place between January and March. Nominations must be submitted by December 1st.
“We are looking for organisations in the South West to nominate staff to train as perinatal and infant mental health champions,” said the South West Strategic Clinical Group, which runs the South West Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Network.
“The champions, once trained, will cascade the training to other staff to help ensure safer care during the perinatal period by raising awareness and early identification of perinatal mental health issues and increasing the knowledge and skills of staff,” the group added.