Baby Loss Awareness Week begins with a debate in Parliament

Posted on October 09, 2019

Premature baby's hand gripping parent's index finger

Last night, MPs came together for the fourth year in a row to lead a debate on baby loss to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week (9-15 October).

MPs from all parties discussed powerfully the issues raised in the Out of Sight, Out of Mind report, released by the Baby Loss Alliance yesterday, which showed nearly nine out of 10 areas of the UK do not provide specialist psychological support for parents who experience mental health conditions following bereavement.

MPs also discussed the Government’s national ambition to halve the rate of neonatal death, stillbirth and serious brain injury by 2025, and the urgent need to redouble efforts to make sure these targets are reached. This is particularly true for neonatal death, and Bliss has previously expressed our concerns that without concerted effort, the targets will not be reached.

Last night, Minister for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety, Nadine Dorries MP committed to:

  • Tackling Group B Strep, which can cause fatal bacterial infections in newborn babies. She said this was her number one priority.
  • Writing to the working group leading on developing new Maternity Outreach Clinics, which will provide mental health support to women and their partners, to see if they will be making provision for parents who have experienced pregnancy and baby loss.

Every year, Baby Loss Awareness Week provides an opportunity for parents who have been bereaved through any type of pregnancy or baby loss, their families and friends to come together to commemorate babies lives. This year, it is also an opportunity to raise awareness that too many parents are falling through the gaps of mental health services. Yesterday’s report found:

  • Only 16 per cent of parents said they were able to access the psychological support they needed through the NHS – leading some to self-fund their own private care, which not everyone can afford.
  • More than 60 per cent of parents reported that they kept their feelings of isolation, depression and suicidal thoughts to themselves.

You can help spread the word by writing to your MP and asking them to take action today. Visit the Baby Loss Awareness week website to find out more about events happening near you, and other ways to get involved this week.