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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Infant Mental Health

Infant mental health (IMH) offer

The recognition of the Scottish Government of the life-long impact of the early years, and their commitment to ensuring that all infants have the best possible start in life through the development of strong relationships between parents and infants, has led to a commitment to make basic IMH training more widely available to professionals who work with children (Commitment 8, Mental Health Strategy for Scotland 2012-2015) and to the launch of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PNIMH) Programme Board in 2019.

NES works closely with the PNIMH Programme Board to ensure that our IMH training offers [PDF], which have continued to evolve since their introduction in 2017, are fully aligned with the training needs of the expanding early years workforce.

In order to offer a systematic training pathway that aligns with a stepped-care delivery model, NES have developed a suite of training offers based on the skills levels detailed in the Perinatal mental health curricular framework- A framework for maternal and infant mental health.

At the informed skills level, the NES module Infant mental health: Developing positive early attachments [PDF] is an introduction to the key aspects of infant mental health and forms a foundation for all of the training offers across further skills levels.

At the skilled level, the Solihull approach foundation level training (as detailed below) is our key offer and for those practitioners who have completed this training, participation in the Warwick University Infant Mental Health Online (IMHOL) course is offered for practitioners working at enhanced level. The pathway also incorporates training across a range of evidence-based parent-infant interventions including Video Interaction Guidance (VIG), Mellow Parenting and Circle of Security Parenting (COSP). Selection of appropriate training and interventions can be supported through implementation planning with the IMH team at NES Psychology (please contact via the email address below).

Solihull approach

The Solihull approach, developed by health visitors, child psychologists and child psychotherapists, brings together three core psychological constructs of containment, reciprocity and behaviour management with the aim of helping parents understand their child’s behaviour in the context of their development and the parent-child relationship. It focuses on developing nurturing and supportive relationships between children and their carer by promoting reflective, sensitive and effective parenting. It aims to improve the parent-child relationship as well as the child’s confidence, self-esteem and behaviour. For further information on the Solihull approach please visit their website.

Foundation level & train the trainer training

The 2-day foundation training delivers a thorough introduction to the Solihull approach model. Aimed at all practitioners who work with parents and families, it focusses on the core concepts of containment, reciprocity and behaviour management and how these can be integrated with practitioners’ professional roles.

Since 2014, NES have delivered foundation level training and train the trainer training to allow practitioners to cascade the model through their services as part of the Solihull approach cascade scheme which aimed to build sustainable capacity within the workforce.

Solihull Approach Online

In May 2020, in partnership with the Scottish Government, NES launched universal free access across Scotland to Solihull Approach online courses for all parents and carers. Pre-paid access continues to be available to a range of courses covering the antenatal period through to 19 years. There are also courses aimed directly at supporting teenagers themselves, and adult relationships. These valuable resources have been accessed by thousands of registered users. Find further details here

In order to support practitioners in raising families’ awareness of these materials and engaging them in accessing the courses, NES has produced an Implementation guide for the solihull approach online [PDF].

Family nurse partnership

With backing from Scottish Government, NES Psychology holds a role in providing consultation and support to the family nurse partnership (FNP) programme across Scotland. Clinical psychologists in each FNP area deliver monthly 1:1 supervision to FNP Supervisors as well as monthly consultation to FNP team meetings. Psychologists involved in FNP meet twice a year for CPD and networking events.

In addition, NES psychology provides input to the FNP education programme, specifically with regards to Infant mental health, Toddler and adolescent development, Attachment theory and the roles of parenting.

A summary of work to date can be found in the Perinatal and infant mental health briefing paper [PDF]. This poster from March 2023 is also available for a snapshot of recent activity PIMH Programme Board Poster [PPTX]. 

Our IMH training offers are delivered by the Parenting and IMH workstream. More detail about this work can be found here [PDF]

Contact us

For further details or to register your interest in any aspect of our IMH training offers, please contact:

Last updated: 29/03/2024

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