This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which is focussing on stress and its detrimental consequences on mental health.
At the Maternal Mental Health Alliance we recognise how stress can negatively affect parents’ wellbeing and increase the risk of mental illness. When parents are feeling stressed, it also makes it harder for them to consider, reflect on and respond to their babies’ needs. And a huge body of research tells us that sensitive and responsive care is an essential ingredient in babies’ healthy brain development.
The research carries positive messages too. The results of stress are not inevitable and there are things we can all do to manage stress and reduced its impact. Furthermore, evidence shows that a good quality relationship between parents and babies after birth can mitigate the impact of early stress on babies’ development, which is why services that support healthy parent-infant relationships are so critically important. Read our blog on stress in pregnancy here.