SLaM launches first mental health Baby Box programme in south London

South London’s first Finnish-style Baby Box, with a new focus on supporting parents’ mental health has been launched by the Maudsley.

As part of Baby Box University, an online resource to help with pregnancy and parenting, families will be able to access information from Maudsley clinicians on mental health issues, such as anxiety, postnatal depression and bonding with baby.

Parents attending South London and Maudsley’s Talking Therapies Southwark IAPT service will be offered a free Baby Box to provide a safe space for baby to sleep.

At a launch event in Bermondsey Central Hall, London, Senior Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and Joint Perinatal Lead for Talking Therapies Southwark Katina Thomas, said:

“One in 10 women experience mental health distress during the perinatal period therefore it is important to help these women and their families to access support. We work closely with King’s College Hospital and Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital maternity services, to provide an effective service for those parents who are experiencing mental health difficulties during this time.

“The Baby Box scheme with its educational platform is an innovative way in which to incorporate maternity and mental health care to our clients. We are very excited to be launching the scheme and look forward to the therapeutic benefits it will bring. ”

Martha, mum to Ezra age 6 and nine-month old Olivia-Rose added:
“I felt low when I was on my own at home with my first baby. With my second I’ve been using Talking Therapies Southwark services and it is a therapy – you talk and they listen. The Baby Box programme will be a great addition to the support and help available.”

Baby Box Co. Chief Executive Jennifer Clary, which is supplying the Baby Boxes and Baby Box University memberships for participating parents said,
“We are delighted to continue the expansion of the Baby Box and Baby Box University programme within the NHS in London.”

The Baby Box tradition originates from Finland and has been credited with reducing the rate of sudden infant death in the country from 65 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 1938 to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015. The UK has some of the highest rates of infant mortality in Europe, ranking 22nd out of the 50 European countries with 4.19 deaths per 1,000 births.

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