Unique Service Plays Vital Role In Supporting Families & Children

13th June 2023
Parents and children at the celebration event

To raise awareness of Infant Mental Health Week, the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust is highlighting the valuable work of the “ABC PiP Service”.

This unique service is centred around building strong relationships between parents and their children providing guidance, support and a safe space for parents to explore challenging emotions around parenting a child.  It has been developed through a strategic partnership with the Trust, Barnardo’s NI, PiP UK and Tiny Life. The ABC PiP Team is made up of a variety of specialists, who offer one to one sessions and home visiting to families across the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust area.

The overall aim of the service is to support parents to help them understand and improve their child’s mental health and babies’ social and emotional development in the first 1001 days of life. There can be life stresses, mental health, poverty and negative experiences during childhood, pregnancy or birth which may sometimes make attachment, bonding and communication more difficult. The social and emotional wellbeing and development of children in the early years of life has seen to be extremely important with babies and young children having secure, responsive relationships that they need to thrive.

ABC PiP recently hosted a celebration event which brought families together to look back and reflect over the past four years and to acknowledge how they continually strive to invest in the emotional well-being of parents and children.

A parent who has been involved with the ABC PiP Service said, “The service has supported us over the past two and a half years and guided us whenever we really needed it.  The team have helped us to access other services within the community and have helped us grow and learn together, they have helped us to create a strong bond.  The support provided will always be with us, it’s been amazing and we are very grateful and thankful to take part. I wouldn’t want to think where we might be now without this life-changing service you have provided to us.”

The service offers a range of interactive groups for parents and their children including; ante-natal and post-natal discussion groups, walking groups and “Tree Baby classes, that are designed to introduce parents and babies to forest bathing and mindfulness practices.

The team continues to receive positive feedback from parents who have attended these groups.  One parent who regularly takes part in the walking group sessions commented, “Since being a part of the walking group, I have made extended friendships with other parents. The connections that have developed between the group members have led to us going out together, having coffee and our children enjoying each other’s birthday parties.

“I really look forward to it, there is great support around us if we need it. We are able to give each other helpful tips and I really enjoy the walks as it gives me a reason to get up and out in the morning.”

The service is hosting a Mellow Bumps reunion for parents and children that have previously attended the classes on Tuesday 20 June 2023 from 10am – 12pm at Rowallane Gardens, Saintfield. Please email abcpip@setrust.hscni.net if you would like to attend or for more information on how to get involved with the service, or by telephoning (028) 9598 8056.

Further information can also be obtained by visiting – www.barnardos.org.uk/northernireland