Give your baby the best start in life campaign


Give your baby the best start in life campaign The Western Trust is committed to ensuring every baby and young child in the Trust area has the best start in life. There is approximately 3,000 babies born every year in the Western Trust area and so the Trust is marking national Infant Mental Health Week (12 to 16 June) with a series of events and making it a top priority to raise awareness of the five key Infant Mental Health messages.

The Trust launched the Infant Mental Health strategy in June 2011 and since then have embedded an infant mental health approach throughout their antenatal and early years’ service provision. Infant Mental Health recognises the significance of the early years (0-3 years) to a child’s brain development which includes their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing through to adulthood. 

Based on the Infant Mental Health strategy the Trust has identified five key messages for all parents of babies and young children to live by, these are: No smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy; breastfeed your baby; read a story to your child every day; give you child lots of love, affection and praise and have fun and play with your child.

Dr Maura ONeill, Western Trust Head of Health Improvement said: “From the evidence it is clear that investment in the early years is crucial to build and sustain healthy parenting and healthy children. The Health Improvement Department have organised the Infant Mental Health campaign to highlight the wide range of evidence based programmes already running in our area. I’m delighted that these projects will be showcased through a series of events to highlight the five Infant mental health messages over this week.”

Sheena Funston, Western Trust Child Development Interventions Coordinator said: “The Western Trust is committed to supporting the early year’s agenda. Infant Mental Health week showcases a range of examples of how investment in innovative parenting programmes for early years in the Western Trust area ensures the health and wellbeing of those taking part. In the Western Trust area there are approximately 3,000 babies born each year. We want to ensure each of these babies are given the best start in life through the development of these programmes with both statutory and voluntary/ community sectors.”

Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women and Children’s Services said: “The evidence is overwhelming that children’s life experiences in early years directly impacts upon their mental, physical and emotional well-being in later years. We recognise that improving long-term outcomes for the whole population begins with ensuring that every child has the best start in life. By adopting these simple five approaches parents and carers can make a real difference to the child’s emotional health and wellbeing.”

Related Services:

Children and young people