Emotional Wellbeing

Emotional Health and Well Being

Secure early attachments for children with their parents and other primary care givers are fundamental for good emotional health both in the short and long term. Parental responsiveness to infants is central in forming secure attachments from birth. Supporting parents to be responsive to their baby’s cues and help them become tuned-in to their child.

Understanding the importance of good emotional health for adults and children for many reasons is central to this health priority. Mental health issues, including depression, can impact on a mother’s ability to be sensitive and attuned to their baby’s emotions and needs. Postnatal depression affects more than 1 in 10 women up to year after giving birth. For some mothers depression is long lasting, they may feel extremely sad or low, have no interest in life, and this makes it difficult or impossible to respond appropriately to a new baby. If you think a mother you are working with may be experiencing depression you should seek advice from an appropriate health professional so they can assess them and identify the right support and treatment.

Enabling children to learn to recognise and understand their emotions are the foundations of good early years practice. It is essential for these emotions to be recognised and valued by adults alongside the less demanding ones of joy and happiness. Initially babies begin to learn how to manage their emotions through having prompt responses to their immediate needs; this experience helps them learn how to self-regulate their own emotions. If this does not happen it can be much harder for children to develop this life skill and they learn different ways gaining adult attention.

Often simple changes to lifestyle can make a big difference. Being physically active on a regular basis has been shown to improve overall well-being as physical activity regulates the release of cortisol, the stress hormone and this benefits both children and adults. Being active early on in life increases the likelihood of staying active and provides long lasting protection against depression and dementia as well and promoting positive emotional wellbeing.

Good emotional wellbeing is essential for everyone to lead a happy, fulfilled life and relationships are clearly the foundation stone for this. An important idea in this priority is for adults who care for children to be responsive and attuned. Equally significant is recognising when this has not happened between parents and children and determining the best way to build or repair this crucial relationship.

Here are some links to websites where there are films made parents sharing their experiences:

Perinatal Positivity https://perinatalpositivity.org/ locally made film for parents also has a subtitle version

Bluebell –some parent’s stories on film –Sports Relief http://www.bluebellcare.org/index.php?page=your-stories

Out of the Blue films https://web.bestbeginnings.org.uk/web/videos on Best Beginnings website or via their free Baby Buddy App

Further information and resources:

Local information and guidance:

Free on-line NHS training

Local telephone support:

  • Bristol Mental Health Crisis Service -provides high-quality 24/7 support to people experiencing an extreme mental health or emotional crisis that requires help  Tel:  0300 555 0334
  • NHS 111
  • Mothers for Mothers Mondays-Fridays, 9:30am-9pm 0117 935 9366
  • Reach -Bristol Mind Line with Mothers for Mothers-Saturday and Sunday nights, 8pm-midnight 0117 935 9366

You can talk to someone on a national helpline:

Pandas UK:  08432898401 09:00-8:00pm every day 

Local services who provide support to parents:

  • Mothers for Mothers http://www.mothersformothers.co.uk/request-help.html peer support, counselling and support in drop-in groups for mothers experiencing postnatal depression/anxiety
  • Bluebell http://www.bluebellcare.org/ antenatal and postnatal drop-in groups at Bluebell Place, 12 week Mum’s Comfort Zone groups held in Children’s Centres, Bluebell Buddy peer support for mothers and Dad’s in Mind worker and support
  • Bristol Wellbeing Therapies- Increasing access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) https://iapt-bristol.awp.nhs.uk/  Parents can self-refer and obtain free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) sessions or individual/counselling or group support


Local parenting support for families:


Self –help tools for parents:


NHS services for mothers with high need:  

Further resources and information

Happy Maps

Happy Maps Poster
Happy Maps Rescue


Supports mums, dads and families who are affected by antenatal or post-natal depression


Speech, language and communication development

For more information go to Children’s Speech and Language Development

Rockabye Information Sheet for Professionals