Charity leaders link up with MPs to call for extra support for parents

A raft of charity sector leaders, including the chief executives of NSPCC and Barnardo’s, have linked up with a cross party group of MPs to call for further investment in support for new parents.

The group are backing the ‘fight for a fair start' campaign to improve families' access to health visiting services.

This investment is particularly needed to spot mental health problems in families at an early stage, says the group.

This week they have written an open letter to health secretary Sajid Javid calling for health visiting services to be bolstered.

Charity chief executives to sign the letter include NSPCC’s Peter Wanless, Lynn Perry of Barnardo’s, Action for Children’s Melanie Armstrong, Save the Children’s Gwen Hines and the National Children’s Bureau’s Anna Feuchtwang.

Meanwhile MPs to back the campaign along with charity leaders include Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey and former children’s minister Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham.

“The fight for a fair start campaign aims to improve access to mental health support for the one in five mums and one in ten dads who experience perinatal mental health problems during pregnancy and in the first year after birth, says their letter.

“With the right support parents can continue to develop a healthy relationship with their baby, but without this support problems can worsen and leave parents struggling with day-to-day tasks.

“COVID-19 restrictions have had a serious impact on perinatal mental health. Mums have attended antenatal appointments alone, with dads and partners often shut out. New parents have been cut off from loved ones, while many have experienced illness, bereavement, and financial strain.

"At a time when services supporting families were needed most, they were reduced or forced to close.”

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