Newcastle City council has appointed Children North East to operate a new infant mental health service in the city following a competitive tender
The new citywide service will have a particular emphasis on supporting parents who are experiencing mental distress which is affecting their ability to bond with newborn children – immediately after birth and in the longer term.
The service was commissioned after extensive stakeholder consultation which identified a need for a mental health, therapeutic service within Newcastle that will work with parents and infants during the critical early years period across a broader spectrum of need than seen by acute services. The programme is funded following the council’s successful bid to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Transformational Challenge Award.
Cabinet member for Children and Young People, Cllr Joanne Kingsland, said: “Infant mental health is a priority with all partners in ensuring every child has best start in life. And as we enter Infant Mental Health Week I am delighted that we have awarded the contract for this important work to Children North East.
“This is a really exciting development in being able to offer support to parents at earliest opportunity to improve health and wellbeing in children and their parents.
“The early emotional bonds that parents make with their children are vitally important to ensuring that children make a positive start to life. Issues like mental health problems can create
difficult barriers to forming these bonds – and this can damage the life chances of children from a very early age.”
Chief Executive of Children North East, Jeremy Cripps, said: “Newcastle City Council should be commended on this bold new initiative for babies and parents.
“Children North East wants every child to grow up happy and healthy so we are delighted to be working with the City Council, NHS, PIP UK and other organisations to ensure the best start for all babies and parents in the city.”