A NEW parent-infant mental health service has launched to help ensure more parents across the region can access support to develop relationships with their babies.

PIMHS provide support to parents who are having difficulty bonding with their baby, to help them build trusting and supportive relationships.

The North West Coast Parent Infant Relationship Partnership is made up of stakeholders from NHS, local authorities and third sector organisations.

It aims to help address the gap in service provision across the north west with only Warrington, Halton, Knowsley and Liverpool families having access to a dedicated PIMHS service in the area.

The charity Parent Infant Partnership UK has found there are only 27 specialist PIMHS teams, meaning that most babies are born in an area where there is no support.

A 2019 report recognised two parent infant mental health services at North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as ‘rare jewels’.

Building upon the work detailed in the report, the partnership aims to develop a PIMHS care pathway for all north west coast PIMHS services, as well as a training programme to help build capacity across the workforce.

Dr Lisa Marsland, lead for parent infant mental health at North West Boroughs Healthcare, said: “It was fantastic to see the passion and enthusiasm that people have for parent-infant mental health and our mission to build bonds and break negative life cycles together.

“Moving forward, we are confident in reaching more vulnerable families and offering them the support they desperately need. A special thank you also goes to our expert by experience Marion, who bravely shared her story at the event.”

Marion, a service user, said: “Sharing my story has really hit home just how many other parents are struggling and need this vital support.

"Without the help I received from the parent-infant mental health service, my life would have been so different.”

Carmel Doyle, public health development midwife, added: “Relationships are everything, especially for vulnerable families whose bonds have been broken.

"However, with the right support, we can help parents and infants to build the best possible bond and attachment relationship."