A health visitor sat talking and smiling with a new mum who is holding her newborn baby

Why Health Visitors Matter: A new report from the First 1001 Days Movement

Why Health Visitors Matter A new report from the First 1001 Days Movement (1)Today, the First 1001 Days Movement has launched ‘Why Health Visitors Matter’. The report contains a compilation of short statements by parents, professionals and charity leaders showing the breadth and depth of health visitors’ work, and its importance in areas such as:

    • maternal mental health
    • infant mental health
    • bereavement support
    • safeguarding
    • and more.

The First 1001 Days Movement says, “our health visitors are needed now more than ever” because of the pandemic and emerging cost-of-living crisis but that health visiting services are “under threat”. They cite that, since 2015, the public health grant has fallen by £0.69bn in real terms and at least 30% of the health visiting workforce has been lost. Furthermore, the latest quarterly data shows that nearly 20% of babies, and their parents, missed out on a 9-12-month review.

“Every health and social care professional working with women and families during and after pregnancy can provide maternal mental health support, but few are as well placed as health visitors when it comes to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the whole family. As such, it is vital that a well-funded, well-resourced, and well-informed health visiting service is available and accessible to all new parents and their babies.” Laura Seebohm, CEO of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) (Read more →)

This report shines a much-needed light on the vital role that health visitors play and the potential difference they can make in the lives of mums, dads, and babies. However, it also raises major concerns around current resourcing decisions and the impact this is having on health visitors’ ability to effectively deliver the important work they were trained to do.

“I feel really worried for new parents who may struggle now health visiting clinics and drop-ins are being cut due to lack of funding, and, in a world where parents have to pick up a phone and initiate the support, I believe many won’t!” Leanne, a mother of two with lived experience of maternal mental health problems (Read more →)

The MMHA supports calls for national and local action to strengthen health visiting services.

Download the report


More information about the essential role of health visiting in providing perinatal mental health care

Whilst everyone who comes into contact with women before, during or after pregnancy has the opportunity to provide mental health support, MMHA’s ‘Make all care count campaign highlights and defines the essential services – including health visiting – that can dramatically affect the lives of women with, or at risk of, poor maternal mental health.

Read more