The Bristol, Somerset & Gloucestershire
Infant Mental Health Hub

The new Infant Mental Health Hub for Bristol, Somerset and Gloucestershire is led by our ‘Hub leads’ Rachel Pardoe, Rachel Allender and Erica Wright. Details and posts below. To join this Hub, select it when you register for AiMH membership. We look forward to hearing from you.

The AiMH UK Infant Mental Health Hubs enable members to connect across professions and levels within geographical areas, to help to develop and co-ordinate our thinking and practice around Infant Mental Health issues in our work. If you would like something posted here, contact your Hub leads on the Hub Discussion Forum (big blue link below).

AIMH hub lead Rachel Pardoe

Rachel Pardoe

Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist, with 27 years’ experience of working with infants, children, adolescents and their parents, in NHS CAMHS and perinatal services. Now working in independent practice, offering VIG to parents and infants, and delivering training in IMH. More...

Trained at the Tavistock & Portman Clinic, London. Teaches on AFC ITSIEY Programme, and University of Bath Clinical Psychology doctorate programme. www.EarlyYES.co.uk

Rachel Allender

Rachel Allender

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist with a specialist interest and professional doctorate focussed on infant mental health and parent-infant therapy. Trained at the Tavistock Clinic, London, and previously worked in a CAMHS team. Currently works as parent-infant therapist in a community perinatal team.

AIMH hub lead Erica Wright

Erica Wright

(On sabbatical until 2022.) Executive Committee Member, AiMH UK. Health Visitor and Primary Infant Mental Health Specialist (Retired). Erica trained and worked in the NHS as a Registered Nurse and Midwife. More...

After raising a family she completed Health Visitor training and worked in Bristol. In the course of this work she developed a special interest in Infant Mental Health. Following related MA studies she was recruited to work in a CAMHS team in Bristol as a Primary Infant Mental Health Specialist.

Since retiring she has been engaged in promoting Infant Mental Health and in 2019 was invited to serve on the AIMH UK Executive Committee

Discussion forum

Share insight, explore issues, and ask other professionals for their experience and expertise in the Bristol & West hub forum.

Posts from the Bristol, Somerset & Glos. Infant Mental Health hub

News and events below.

Mothers for Mothers: Annual Public Meeting

Tuesday 16th November @ 7.30pm via Zoom.

You are invited to Mothers for Mothers public meeting for an update on the past year’s developments, and to talk about future plans.

RSVP: Support@mothersformothers.co.uk to receive a Zoom link.

We are mothers, who have suffered and recovered from depression, anxiety or isolation during pregnancy or after the birth of one or more of our babies. We are women with lived experience who offer support, advice and information..

Mothers for Mothers are delighted to have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in their 40th year.

What we do: sharing practice and learning from each other

The networking event on 4th October (see details below), attended by around 23 people, was exactly what we’re here for:

  • sharing practice – understanding what we do
  • inspiring presentations
  • time to discuss/get to know each other

We’re building our community of practice!

Thank you to everyone for making this possible – in particular to Clare Beckell and Shan Nur from Rockabye, and Alex Corgier and the Home Start staff and volunteers – for taking the time to prepare and give such valuable presentations. Thank you to Lin Carruthers (AiMH UK) for supporting the event.

If you would like to comment on the event, please go to our Hub forum.

Monday 4 October, 10.00 – 12.30

Free to AiMH members. £11.37 to non-members (£10 + the Eventbrite fee).


10.00 Welcome + Introductions – Rachel Pardoe & Rachel Allender

10.20 Rockabye, Bristol

Clare Beckell (Trainer & Supervisor) + Shan Nur (Group Leader)

‘Working cross-culturally in groups with mothers and babies’

10.50 Discussion – breakout rooms

11.10 Whole Group discussion

11.25 Tea break

11.40 Home Start

Alex Corgier (HS Coordinator, Stroud & Gloucester) with Home Start Volunteer

‘Widening awareness of infant mental health in family support work’

Rachel Pardoe – discussant

12.00 Discussion – breakout rooms

12.20 Whole Group discussion

12.30 Close

Reports from Churchill Fellows.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in partnership with The Dulverton Trust set up a Travel Fellowship focussed on the early years. This provided an opportunity for many to travel throughout the world to look at best and innovative practice in the field of early intervention and parenting. The final reports are available for download from the WCMT website. All are worth reading for what they have brought back from initiatives in other countries.

I have put together an overview of the reports divided up into four rather broad categories: (1)Therapeutic interventions for infants and parents; (2) Speech and language therapy initiatives; (3) Early years nursery, education and parenting support; and (4) Services working with maltreatment, including substance abuse and domestic violence. A link to each paper is provided.

This summary with links can be downloaded here to save you searching on the WCMT website. This is also a mine of information on many other fascinating topics. I recommend getting on their mailing list. There might be an opportunity of a lifetime that fits the bill for you one day.

WAIMH 2021 World Congress 22 – 26 June 2021 – presentations by Bristol and Cardiff clinicians

The WAIMH 2021 World Congress 22 – 26 June 2021 was a blend of in-person in Brisbane, Australia and virtual online open to all. You can still register and view content until December 2021. Click here to read more about the Program and here to see more information on the AiMH News Event page.

Rachel Pardoe (Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist) and Dr. Jessica Williams (Highly Specialist Perinatal Clinical Psychologist in the Cardiff and Vale perinatal CMHT) presented a pre-recorded workshop at WAIMH 2021, available on demand:

Providing a parent-infant therapeutic intervention online: Video Interaction Guidance – empowering parents during COVID-19 (Workshop theme: Antenatal and perinatal practices)

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Hub event 10 May 2021: Building a local early years/infant mental health network

Thank you to all who attended online our first networking event on Monday 10 May 2021, following the planning meeting with service managers/leads in March 2021.

It was good to meet you all, and to begin the process of building a local early years/infant mental health network, connecting with local IMH practitioners.

We plan to host networking events twice per year: October and May.

Our event:

  • Want to know what’s going in your area?
  • Want to link up with other practitioners in the early years?
  • Join us for a local networking event, open to all practitioners working in Bristol, Gloucestershire, and Somerset.

We had stimulating discussions based on the following themes:

  • How to keep the infant in mind in family/maternal services?
  • How can input be delivered earlier to prevent escalation/deterioration?
  • Working antenatally to support families
  • Families and Covid-19

Please go to the forum topic for more information about the discussions and issues raised. Please do add your comments there.

We also discussed possible themes for future Hub events – see the Hub forum.

A new service for fathers in Gloucestershire

The Home Start ‘Dads Matter’ project is now running to support fathers in Gloucestershire. This has been imaginatively established by the Gloucestershire Home Start Consortium. The aim is to help fathers to have the best possible relationship with their families. The support on offer is led by a ‘Dads Matter’ coordinator and the volunteers are now ‘Dads’ Champions’. The referral form is available for any service to use. For more information about the process of making a referral there is an informative referral guide. Members of AiMH can access some informative papers on fathers and fathering below.

Download “Articles that feature fathers” articles-that-feature-fathers.pdf – Downloaded 10 times – 386 KB

IMH discussion on Birmingham radio

On Tuesday 8th December, Rachel Pardoe (child psychotherapist and AiMH Bristol Hub lead) was invited to be a guest speaker on Birmingham’s Unity Radio ‘parenting hour’ programme. The weekly feature is hosted by Kathleen Roche-Nagi (Managing Director of Approachable Parenting and AiMH Birmingham and West Midlands Hub lead). Rachel Pardoe invited Rachel Allender (child psychotherapist and AiMH Bristol Hub member) to join her on the show.

This content is for logged-in members of AiMH UK.  If your work is concerned with babies and infants from conception to age three, or with their parents and carers, then join AiMH UK.

Engaging Fathers & Working during COVID

Friday 22 January 2021 9.30-12.00

Dr Cerith Waters (Senior Lecturer, Clinical Lead for perinatal services, Cardiff; accredited VIG practitioner) and Rachel Pardoe (Child Psychotherapist, VIG supervisor).

The importance of including fathers in interventions that address emerging problems in the parent-infant relationship: a VIG case example

This online event went very well – over 70 practitioners booked from all over the UK – several working in community services for Dads. Many positive comments in the Zoom Chat and active verbal discussion.

Dr. Cerith Waters shared emotionally moving and effective therapeutic work, using VIG. It was clearly an inspiration for many who attended.

Cerith also presented research data on Fathers mental health during the perinatal period, and he shared the BPS Guidance on Working remotely with parents and infants during pregnancy and postpartum.

Handouts will be emailed to all attendees. Logged in AiMH members can see more information here in the AiMH UK-wide Forum. Please add your comments (whether or not you attended the event).

Reflections on the AiMH UK conference

Mentalising in the time of COVID-19: Restoring our ability to think about babies

Some reflections on the AiMH national conference. Do go to the AiMH UK-wide forum to read people’s reflections, and add your own.

At the end of the conference, there was some brief online discussion – lots of questions, and a keenness to understand more about Peter Fonagy’s presentation, and the implications for IMH practice. I look forward to seeing the slide handouts.

I was struck by 2 things in particular:

This content is for logged-in members of AiMH UK.  If your work is concerned with babies and infants from conception to age three, or with their parents and carers, then join AiMH UK.