Agencies from across Croydon came together this week to highlight the issue of perinatal mental health and the importance of supporting parents during pregnancy until their child turns five.
At Croydon’s first Best Start Perinatal Mental Health Conference yesterday (Wednesday), parents and professionals gave powerful testimonies about their experiences with perinatal mental health and the effect it can have on families. All highlighted the importance of being able to access support and help at an early stage, to avoid the spiral into long-term mental health issues and ensure the wellbeing of the family.
Speakers included international campaigner Mark Williams, the founder of International Fathers Mental Health Day, who has received the Father of the Year Award and local hero award at the Pride of Britain awards. Mr Williams gave a moving testimony about his own experiences with postnatal depression.
Other speakers included midwives, health visitors, domestic violence and sexual abuse workers and psychiatrists, all with extensive experience of working with and championing perinatal mental health.
The event was led by Croydon Best Start in order to provide an opportunity for a range of practitioners to come together to share their knowledge and experience that helps to deliver joined up services that support perinatal mental health.
The Best Start service currently supports parents and their families from pregnancy until their child turns five, with different organisations working together to ensure children have the best start in life, offering universal and targeted services through children’s centres and a range of programmes with the community. Last week Croydon Best Start celebrated its two-year anniversary.
“Perinatal mental health can have a huge impact on the lives of parents and their children so it is absolutely imperative that we support parents and ensure they have access to the right help, at the right time. This conference has demonstrated the high levels of collaboration between all agencies in our borough on this issue, and our absolute commitment as a partnership to work together to promote the mental health of parents and their families in Croydon.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Next month Croydon’s Partnership Early Help Strategy will launch, which will set out how Croydon’s Partner Agencies including the council, schools, health services, police, faith and voluntary sector and community groups will be working together to help families to access support early and achieve the best start at all stages in their journey.