Infant Mental Health Team
The Infant Mental Health team is part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
Infants and young children (up to the age of 5 years) may be referred to the team for a variety of reasons including actual or potential attachment difficulties, behavioural difficulties in the context of social, emotional or developmental difficulties, or Child Protection concerns impacting on the emotional wellbeing of children.
Intervention/therapy includes observation carried out in both home or educational settings and work with parents in understanding their child. This work may take place over a short number of sessions. Psychotherapy is available for longer term difficulties which might be located in either the parent or child. In addition, group work such as ‘Safety in Numbers’ (a therapeutic post-natal depression group), and a parent-infant psychotherapy group are also offered. We also offer consultation to any professionals working with infants and young children individually or in groups. The Infant Primary Mental Workers also deliver bespoke training to the universal services.
The Infant Mental Health Team focus on parent-infant mental health, inclusive of early intervention prior to birth. The team are able to respond when a parent or carer is distressed or anxious about their unborn child or newborn, and where staff in universal services have been unable to help that parent to feel less anxious or distressed. Psychotherapy for expectant women is available in individual or group work to help them address issues before the birth of their baby.
The main focus of our work is on the building of positive relationships to form strong attachments between infants/young children and parents/carers. In addition to this work the team may be required to work on a longer term basis with the parent/carer and infant/child with a more challenging and complex, moderate to severe presentation. We believe that by intervening early we can support children and parents/carers by improving both infant and parental mental health.
Requests for involvement are accepted from any professional who has concerns about a parent/carer and a child during the late ante-natal period, up to the age of five.
Referrals are accepted by any professional working with families and are sent via Devon Referral Support Service at [email protected].