The NSPCC has seen a monthly average increase of 44% in calls from adults regarding parental mental health when compared with the previous year. They are calling on the Government to prioritise parents and babies as the nation recovers from lockdown and the pandemic.
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Social distancing measures have meant that many fathers and partners have been excluded from scans and many women have given birth without a partner or supporter present. As well as parents and babies being isolated from the support of family and friends over the past year, up to 50% of health visitors were redeployed away from supporting families in some areas during the first lockdown.
This has had an unprecedented impact on pregnancy, child birth and the start of a child’s life.
A survey undertaken during the pandemic by Parent-Infant Foundation, Best Beginnings and Home Start found:
- 6 in 10 new parents shared significant concerns about their mental health because of the additional stress caused by COVID
- a third of parents reported that interaction with their child had changed
- just over 1 in 10 parents of children under 2 saw a health visitor face-to-face.
Restricted access to these crucial services could result in mental health problems in pregnancy and the first year going under the radar of professionals, making it harder for parents to provide the care a baby needs to develop.