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Culturally sensitive parenting support

A bespoke health visitor-delivered programme to support the mental health of Muslim parents has celebrated the achievements of its first group of ‘graduates’.

The course – delivered in partnership between the Birmingham health visiting service and Balsall Heath-based social enterprise Approachable Parenting – is specifically designed to meet the needs of Muslim mums and dads, drawing on evidence that parenting programmes that are sensitive to a particular culture and/or set of beliefs deliver greater community engagement and impact on participants’ wellbeing.

Running in eight weekly two-hour sessions, topics covered include relationship-building, increasing confidence and mental health awareness. Participants received medals and certificates in recognition of their successful completion of the course, which was developed by Approachable Parenting managing director Kathleen Roche-Nagi.

Approachable Parenting course presentation group

She said: “Congratulations to the mums – and dad- who have successfully completed the programme, the first of its kind.

“We’re particularly grateful to our health visiting friends for securing the funding that has enabled us to establish the course and for delivering the sessions in such an engaging way.

“The successful completion of a new programme is always a special moment and we are very fortunate to have such an engaged group because the parents’ feedback on the content and their experience will help us improve and adapt it for future cohorts.”

Health visiting team leader Alis Rasul said: “Evidence shows there is a high rate of disengagement from parenting programmes – people sign up and attend one or two sessions but too often find they don’t relate to the content, or the way it is delivered, and so don’t carry on attending.

“A Mary Seacole Award enabled us to deliver this programme and research the health visitor co-delivery, which is tailored to be culturally sensitive to the needs of the community.

“We know that mums of Asian heritage are twice as likely to die in their first year post-pregnancy; (mums of African or Caribbean heritage are five times more likely to die during their first year post-pregnancy.)

“We know the inequalities are there and so we are keen to do further research to better understand the potential of the health visitor role in engaging, facilitating and delivering culturally sensitive parenting education .”

As well as the health visitor-run sessions, future programmes will be run at Birmingham Women’s Hospital and there are plans for co-delivery in due course, she added.

Birmingham Community Healthcare's health visiting service is part of the Birmingham Forward Steps health and wellbeing programme, delivered in partnership with Barnardo's, Spurgeons, St Paul's Community Development Partnership and the Springfield Project.