FAMILIES across Scotland will benefit from a £1 million investment in charities specialising in mental health and wellbeing support in pregnancy and early years.
The support – provided by the Scottish Government’s Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund – will go to 34 charities that help new families take their first steps in raising babies and young children.
It has been estimated that up to 20% of mums and up to 10% of dads are affected by poor mental health in the perinatal period. Between 10-22% of babies and young children also experience mental health difficulties.
The Fund enables organisations to provide one-to-one and group based support and care that parents, carers and new babies need. Over 7,000 parents, expectant parents and infants have been supported by the funded organisations.
Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart announced extension of the existing Fund for another year from April 2023 to March 2024 at the current level of funding, over £1 million across the 12 months.
Mr Stewart said: “We want all mothers and their families to have access to good mental health care throughout pregnancy and during the postnatal period. The third sector plays a key role in access to perinatal and mental health support, and with the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and the cost crisis, their work is more important now than ever.
“I am pleased to extend the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund. It is reassuring to see that from October 2020-March 2023 over £2.5 million has been distributed to successful charities via the Fund and over seven thousand parents, expectant parents and infants have been supported by the funded organisations.”
Home Start Dundee service user said: “On my bad days, the groups have been a lifeline, having somewhere to go and vent to people who “get it” and understand. It’s nice to be able to open up in a safe and non-judgmental environment”
Mind Mosaic service user said: “The group really helped me to feel less alone in my struggles, and the calm friendly way you welcomed us all each Thursday morning set the tone to make it easy and comfortable to share experiences.”
Barnardo’s maternal and infant mental health support service user said: “It was a great way to find and talk to new parents. I felt welcomed and loved each session. So did my son.”
Celia Tennant, Chief Executive of Inspiring Scotland said: “We’re delighted the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund has been extended for another year. This will enable us to work alongside our charity partners to continue offering their essential perinatal services that support families with babies. This support is needed now more than ever, and these organisations are a lifeline to parents and families, offering empathetic support with trusted relationships right at the heart of their services.”