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Children at heart of new mental health service

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By Christie Breen
Annan and Eskdale

NHS DUMFRIES and Galloway is developing a new Infant Mental Health Service – and is looking for help from parents and carers across the region.

The focus of the service will be on enhancing the parent-infant relationship. This will involve boosting parenting confidence, helping parents better understand their baby by observing babies’ behaviour together, understanding how the impact of childhood later in life and learning about child development.

Parents or carers of infants up until their third birthday are invited to describe their experiences of child services and give suggestions for better care by completing the online surveys.

Clinical psychologist Dr Anna Robson, right, at Mountainhall Treatment Centre in Dumfries, is working on the development of the service. She said: “Awareness and understanding of infant mental health is extremely important as it influences health and wellbeing across the lifespan.

“Positive infant mental health promotes positive social, emotional and brain development. Infant mental health relates to an infant’s ability to experience a wide range of emotions, develop safe and close relationships with important people in their lives and explore their environment and learn new skills.

“We hope to learn from parents’ and carers’ past experience of child services, what their needs are and how they would like those needs to be best met.”

To complete the online survey visit: www.nhsdg.co.uk/parents-and-carers-help-sought-on-infant-mental-health-service/.

Consultation on the details of the service will begin in September, with the final plan due to be drawn up in late 2022 in time for the service to launch early next year.

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