New interactive resources launched to support the mental health of new mothers and fathers

On International Fathers' Mental Health Day, the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), in partnership with Dr Ranjana Das and Dr Paul Hodkinson from the University of Surrey, is delighted to announce the launch of three new 'Factographics' interactive resources - designed to better support the mental health of new mothers and fathers.

Mental health problems in the time around having a baby are common and, left untreated, can have significant short- and long-term impact for all members of the family. Identifying problems early and offering the right support and treatment maximizes the opportunity for good outcomes for the whole family.

The new resources, based on research findings by Dr Das and Dr Hodkinson on new parents' mental health, were developed in partnership with the iHV, parents and professionals, who worked together to translate the findings into meaningful sustainable resources that can be used by parents and professionals at every local level.

The three new interactive Factographics resources to support perinatal mental health are oriented to groups or areas where we know there are unique unmet needs - namely, new fathers, mothers from British South Asian communities, and parents who had a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These fabulous Factographics are produced in an innovative format that is engaging to all users, and are co-produced 'by parents and healthcare professionals for use by parents and healthcare professionals'. They highlight some of the barriers to engagement, share stories and media clips about individual experiences, and provide links to organisations and helplines. Factographics strengthen relationships between parents and professionals, they bust myths and stigma and, most importantly, they let parents know that they are not alone and that there is help - they offer parents a sense of hope."

Melita Walker, Mental Health Lead at the Institute of Health Visiting

Dr Ranjana Das and Dr Paul Hodkinson at the University of Surrey said: "Though it can often be a time of joy, becoming a new parent can be immensely challenging. We are delighted to see our research findings around unmet mental health needs become a tangible, concrete resource for people to use. This collaboration has brought to life the experiences and stories we have heard in our research, in a way that will benefit new parents and professionals going forward.

Funded by an Impact Acceleration Award from the Economic and Social Research Council at the University of Surrey, the Factographics resources are in an innovative format that is engaging and useful to all - whether academics, commissioners, parents or healthcare professionals.

Digitalized so they can work as a living sustainable resource - they are a national template created for local implementation. Available in web, mobile and PDF versions, they can be accessed directly by parents or shared by healthcare professionals and will be ideal for use in local public health campaigns.

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