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Empowering Parents: NSPCC supports Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week in Newcastle

NSPCC practitioners joined local midwives and healthcare workers at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary this week to support Maternal Mental Health Week and showcase Pregnancy in Mind - a flagship service to support expectant parents.

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is a crucial reminder of the support needed for mothers and fathers navigating parenthood. The NSPCC and Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) hosted an open day for staff and service users alongside the RVI’s Maternity Department on Wednesday.

Guests learned about the key NHS mental health services that are available during the perinatal period, including Newcastle NHS Talking Therapies and Little Minds in Mind, as well as Pregnancy in Mind (PiM).

PiM is a free NSPCC service, designed for expectant parents who’ve experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, mild to moderate levels of anxiety or depression during pregnancy.

Mental health problems during pregnancy and after a child is born affect more than one in five mums and around one in 10 dads, who might experience anxiety and depression. Addressing these issues early is important, as they can impact both parental well-being and infant development.

PiM equips parents with the tools to manage negative thoughts, foster connections with their unborn babies, and alleviate worries associated with parenthood. Through the NSPCC Helpline and other online services, the charity offers guidance and assistance to expectant and new mothers experiencing mental health challenges, ensuring they receive the help they need during this critical period.

NSPCC Assistant Director Debra Radford, said: "We were delighted to be at the RVI’s Maternity Department this week and we hope NHS service users and parents found the day useful. Mental health problems during pregnancy and after childbirth affect more parents than many realise.

Our Pregnancy in Mind service provides vital support to parents experiencing anxiety or depression, offering mindfulness techniques, social support, and coping strategies to navigate this transformative journey. By providing a supportive environment and practical resources, we empower parents to provide sensitive and responsive care, laying a foundation for their child's healthy development.”

In addition to Pregnancy in Mind, the NSPCC offers a wealth of resources and advice through its website, aimed at reducing parental anxiety and fostering strong parent-child bonds.

Simple yet effective tips, such as open communication and interactive play, can make a significant difference in nurturing a child's growth and strengthening familial connections.

As part of the “Look, Say, Sing, Play” campaign, the NSPCC encourages parents to engage in meaningful interactions with their infants, fostering cognitive development and nurturing emotional bonds. Free weekly tips and dedicated online support further empower parents to navigate the complexities of early childhood development with confidence.

Abigail Spencer, Specialist Midwife for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Autism at the RVI, added: The Maternity Unit at the RVI were delighted to host an event to celebrate Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. Newcastle has a strong network of perinatal mental health providers that strive continuously to raise awareness and reduce stigma about mental health illness and to support parents in their journey through pregnancy and into the postnatal period.

"I would encourage all families to reach out to their GP, Community Midwife or Health Visitor if they would like to discuss their mental health."

For more information about the NSPCC's parental mental health services and resources, visit For immediate assistance, contact the NSPCC Helpline at 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected].

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