Smart Start – events

Parent-infant mental health support mapping workshop

On Tuesday 23rd May 2017, the Warwickshire Public Health team coordinated an important Smart Start event , focused on mapping parent-infant mental health services in Warwickshire and agreeing next steps to improving parental mental health in the first 1001 critical days of an infant’s life.

Over 60 people from across Warwickshire joined the workshop including Warwickshire County Council, the NHS, early year’s representatives, third sector providers, the community and voluntary sector. Workshop delegates heard from two nationally recognised experts in the field of parent-infant mental health and wellbeing; Debi Maskell-Graham, Author and Director of Big Toes Little Toes, who spoke about the importance of attachment and the parent-infant relationship, and Dawn Cannon, Director of Warwick Infant and Family Wellbeing, Warwick University, who talked of steps Warwickshire could take to strengthen parent-infant mental health support.

The workshop generated many positive ideas:

  • The need to set up a strategic partnership that will lead on the parent-infant mental health in Warwickshire
  • The need for services to engage in mental health awareness raising campaigns
  • The promotion of emotional wellbeing and the tackling of stigma relating to mental ill-health
  • The development of training and support for frontline workers, communities and families, including training in attachment and infant mental health
  • Development of online resources for practitioners, communities and families
  • Improved support for dads, as they often get missed
  • Support for families where there are relationship conflicts.
  • To view the presentations from the workshop please visit the links below

  • John Linnane 23 May Workshop (PDF, 2.96 MB)
  • Debi Maskell – Graham 23 May Workshop (PDF, 5.34 MB)
  • Dawn Cannon 23 May Workshop (PDF, 801.76 KB)
  • To view the summary reports from the workshop please visit the links below

  • Workshop Summary part 1 20 June (PDF, 571.66 KB)
  • Workshop summary part 2 Appendices 20 June (PDF, 735.52 KB)
  • We supported Infant Mental Health Awareness Week which ran from 12-16 June 2017. For the release in full please visit: Warwickshire in support of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week.


    Smart Start Strategy Group meetings

    • Tuesday, 6 Sep 2016 at 10.00
    • Tuesday, 8 Nov 2016 at 10.00
    • Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017 at 14.00
    • Thursday 16 March 2017 at 10.00

    There are plans to hold a second annual Smart Start conference in Autumn 2017. The event will aim to report on progress of the programme over the past 2 years and explain how the Smart Start strategy will be delivered as part of the Children and Families Transformation programme.


    Smart Start Conference: One Year On

    The Smart Start Programme held its first annual conference on Wednesday 29th June at Benn Hall in Rugby. The conference set out to report on the progress of the programme after its first year and bring parents and organisations together to shape the future of services for children aged 0-5 years and their families. 120 delegates attended representing early years’ education, health, social care and the third sector alongside parents and carers from Warwickshire.

    Dr John Linnane, Director of Public Health at Warwickshire County Council provided the keynote speech on the importance of parent-infant interaction and attachment, and how this can have a huge impact on a child’s brain development in the early years and their life chances.

    Delegates were presented with an insight into the local context of the Smart Start programme and how more needs to be done to ensure all children in Warwickshire have the best start in life.

    The results of the Smart Start Foundation Project’s research which involved hearing the needs and experiences of 1135 parents and carers of children aged 0-5 years, and 274 professionals working with these families, were then shared. Key themes that emerged from the findings include the need for services to work together and share information, to improve the reach and depth of support services to parents and the need for more mental health support for both parents and infants.

    The draft Smart Start Strategy (PDF, 5.19 MB) and proposal for integration of services for 0-5s were presented and discussed.

    The programme and presentations from the conference

    Summary and closing remarks

    If you attended the conference and haven’t done so already, please would you take a moment to complete this evaluation survey. The closing date is 19th July. Your feedback is very important to us and will help in shaping next year’s Smart Start conference.


    Smart Start – events was last updated on September 7, 2017.


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