Today, MMHA members Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK and Parent-Infant Foundation have launched a new report exploring the impact of the pandemic and lockdown on new and expectant parents, and their babies.
“It’s made a challenging time unimaginably hard and lonely.”
The COVID-19 Parents and Babies Survey – on which the ‘Babies in Lockdown’ report was based – had almost 5,500 diverse respondents from across the UK, including pregnant women, dads and co-parents, from a range of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Key findings include:
- 6 in 10 parents had significant concerns about their mental health
- Only 3 in 10 were confident that they could find mental health support if they needed it
- Families already at risk of poorer outcomes appear to have suffered the most
- Parents main concern was for their emotional and mental health.
The report authors are now calling for additional funding to help:
- local services support families who have had a baby during or close to lockdown
- local commissioners improve outcomes for the most vulnerable children
- sustain statutory services, charities, and community groups who support families from conception to age two and beyond.
MMHA Director, Emily Slater, says:
“These findings make for sobering reading. The MMHA is particularly concerned by how few parents report feeling confident they could find mental health support if they needed it, especially given the number expressing concern for their mental health at this time.
“We know that maternal mental health problems are treatable with the right care and support. We also know the costs, at times tragic and long-lasting, of this care and support not being accessible to women and their families.
“This report demonstrates how important it is to have appropriately resourced services working in the perinatal period. And for these services to proactively encourage women and their families to seek expert help when needed, coordinate signposting to up-to-date information, and facilitate access to crucial perinatal mental health care during and beyond COVID-19.”
The MMHA would like to thank all of the parents who completed the survey, as well as members Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK and Parent-Infant Foundation for giving them and their babies this much-needed platform.
We will continue to work together to ensure the mental health needs of and families are heard and, most importantly, met.