Shining a light on the Family Nurse Partnership supporting young mothers for Infant Mental Health Awareness Week

Date: 10 June 2024


The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a voluntary home visiting programme of support for young mothers-to-be, aged 19 and under. It forms part of the 0-19 service, provided by Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, who deliver a range of healthcare services throughout a child’s life.

The FNP programme provides access to specially trained family nurses and creates a personalised package of support for their needs. The nurses will visit mothers regularly from early pregnancy and through until their child is aged between 1 and 2 years, which is a critical time for an infant’s mental health and development.

The focus is placed on strengthening a young mother’s ability to develop good relationships with their child and better understand the child’s needs. By supporting mothers to make the best choices with their child’s welfare in mind. Mothers who have used the service have highlighted how valuable it was to their journey, with one saying, “Having a friendly face who will always listen. I tell my friends I’m never judged by my Family Nurse. It’s nice to know I’ve got a visit from my Family Nurse coming up - this was especially important in the early days after having my baby as it felt lonely at times”.

The support every young mother needs is unique to them, as such the programme is personalised. The development of an on-going relationship, supported by skilled assessment, enables the nurse and young parent to identify how the programme can best be shaped to meet their needs. This collaborative approach requires a high level of skill from these specialist nurses, alongside proficient use of the programme’s tools and materials. Family nurses listen, guide, and advise using their skills to support parents in making positive changes for themselves and their baby.

One mother expressed how important her relationship was with her nurse, “I always felt comfortable to talk and ask questions. I felt trust and in control and was never worried about contacting my family nurse.”

In the East Riding, FNP is commissioned to ensure that a young person, aged 19 years or under, who meets the eligibility criteria can be offered a place on the programme. The FNP team, work alongside the 0-19 service, to ensure any young parents or families struggling with vulnerabilities or challenges can be supported to ensure they attach and connect with their babies.

Sarah Clapham, FNP Supervisor at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust said: “Having an emotional connection with your baby, showing them that they are emotionally attached to us as parents and care givers, enables children to feel safe and secure in the world and allows them the opportunity to grow up to become emotionally balanced adults within society.”

As part of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 10 to 16 June 2024, the FNP team are reminding new mothers and fathers to take every opportunity to engage with their babies in those early moments. Mothers can touch their bump, cuddle their baby or take time to play and sing to their child, small actions like these support healthy relationships during early development. One service user was asked what they found most helpful about the programme and commented, “Understanding how to help baby's development: Knowing there are things that can help them to develop”.

To learn more about the support available for young mothers, visit the website here.

  • Summary:

    The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a voluntary home visiting programme of support for young mothers-to-be, aged 19 and under.

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