Conferences Tackle Joint Issues of Parental Mental Health and Safeguarding Children – 29/05/13

Bridging the Gap Conference

Local mental health and social care professionals took part in two groundbreaking conferences to look at how they can work closer together to help parents who have mental health problems and to ensure the safeguarding of their children.

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust supported Dudley and Walsall Safeguarding Children Boards in organising the 'Bridging the Gap' conferences in Dudley and Walsall in April and May. Virtual College E-Safeguarding Academy also supported the events.

More than 300 professionals attended the conferences, which featured presentations from a panel of experts who addressed issues relating to parental mental health and the impact on children. The conferences aimed to support work to better join up children and adults services in order to safeguard children who experience parental mental health problems.

A performance by local theatre company Saltmine provided a powerful insight into the world of a mother with mental health problems. The performance centred on a tragic story of a young baby, her mother and a social worker, and brought into sharp focus the importance of adults and children services working together.

Debbie Cooper, Vulnerable Adults and Children Lead at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: "We've put a lot of work into organising these events and we feel they really demonstrate our commitment to working in partnership to address parental mental health and safeguarding children."

"Safeguarding children and adults is a priority for the Trust. The conferences provided a great opportunity for professionals from children and adult services to consider the impact of parental mental health on children’s lives and to reflect on how they can better work together where there are safeguarding concerns for children."