What is the MECSH programme?
The MECSH home visiting programme is for families who would benefit from extra support. The programme offers a series of structured home visits to mothers and their babies by a Health Visitor. The aim is to promote maternal and child emotional and social wellbeing and assist parents to interact in ways that support their children’s development.
The programme is voluntary and free. For mothers who do not speak English, interpreters can be arranged to be part of the home visits.
Home visits may commence during pregnancy, which means women are able to get to know the Health Visitor who will continue to visit them after their baby is born. These visits do not take the place of antenatal care women receive from their midwife. MECSH can be started anytime until the baby is eight weeks old.
The programme consists of at least 25 home visits, usually by the same Health Visitor. The visits are scheduled with the family at specific time intervals and continue until the child’s 2nd birthday. Families can opt out of the programme early if they wish to do so.
What happens during a home visit?
At each visit, parents will be able to talk to the Health Visitor about how things are going with their baby and the rest of their family, and how they are feeling.
The Health Visitor will share information and ideas on many things to do with looking after young children, including:
- Feeding, including breastfeeding, or bottle-feeding.
- Settling, and strategies to help manage sleep issues.
- Managing a crying baby.
- How to keep their baby healthy.
- Parental self-care.
- Helping family members, including other children, to adjust to the baby.
- Playing with their baby in ways to help them grow and develop.
- Introducing solid foods.
- How to help their baby learn to crawl, walk and talk.
- Managing toddler behaviours.
Speak to us if you want to find out more about MECSH.
Service user feedback about MECSH:
Six months ago I was in a bad place and found twin mother experience difficult. The Health Visitor would visit me initially weekly, then every fortnight and eventually monthly. This was always depending how it was suitable for me. I need intense support initially which was weekly. As my confident grew then we expanded. It worked as it gave me heavy support at first which was great and slowly learning how to walk by myself. I really appreciated the support I got because I speak to families in different Borough who are struggling, and I speak highly of the service I get. Some people are surprised that it's available but have to say we are lucky