Health-Led Interventions in the Early Years to Enhance Infant and Maternal Mental Health: A Review of Reviews

  • Barlow J
  • McMillan A
  • Kirkpatrick S
 et al. 
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Background: Increasing recognition of the importance of maternal mental health and early parenting in optimising the later mental health of the child has given rise to new ways of working during the perinatal period. Aims: The objective of this review is to identify effective health-led interventions to support parents, parenting and the parent-infant relationship during the perinatal period,(1) and beyond. Method: A systematic search of key electronic databases was undertaken to identify secondary and primary sources of data addressing the research question. Twenty-four reviews addressed the effectiveness of interventions delivered during the postnatal period in promoting closeness and sensitive parenting, infant sensory and perceptual capabilities, and positive parenting, and in addressing infant regulatory problems, maternal mental health problems, and parent-infant relationship problems. Conclusions: A number of methods of working are recommended as part of a model of progressive-universalism beginning ante-natally and continuing through the first two post-natal years, and beyond. The implications for universal, targeted and specialist healthcare services are explored, alongside the role and contribution of CAMHS practitioners.

Author-supplied keywords

  • 0-3 years
  • Healthy Child Programme
  • Parenting
  • Prevention
  • Promotion

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  • Jane Barlow

  • Anita Schrader McMillan

  • Sue Kirkpatrick

  • Deborah Ghate

  • Jacqueline Barnes

  • Marjorie Smith

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