The Building Great Britons report on the promotion of optimal development was launched at Speaker’s House, by kind permission of Mr Speaker, The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, on Wednesday 25th February, 2015.
The Rt Hon John Bercow welcomed nearly 100 supporters of the report and spoke movingly about the crucial importance of picking up problems early in life. The audience also heard rousing speeches from cross party MPs who had pledged their backing for Building Great Britons: Conservative MP and former Children's Minister Tim Loughton, Labour MP and shadow minister for Women and Equalities Sharon Hodgson, and Lib Dem MP and former Health Minister Rt Hon Paul Burstow. WAVE Trust’s CEO George Hosking concluded the presentations and commented on on the consensus that now exists, reflected in recent reports by Action for Children, Centre for Social Justice, Early Intervention Foundation, Maternal Mental Health Alliance, and NSPCC, and now this report, that investment in the earliest years of life is crucial for long term outcomes..
Key messages from the Report included:
•‘Infant mental health and maltreatment should be no less a priority than defence of the realm’
•A recommendation that local authorities, CCGs and Health & Wellbeing Boards should adopt and implement a ‘1001-days’ strategy, based on primary preventive principles, with particular emphasis on fostering mental/emotional wellbeing and secure attachment, and preventing child maltreatment
•The estimated annual cost of failing to deal with perinatal issues is c.£23 billion – or about half the £43 billion we spend on national defence.
•Maternal welfare in pregnancy is crucial to the infant as well as to the mother.
•A vicious, self-sustaining cycle of childhood and social damage can be passed from generation to generation by poor quality parent-child attachment.
•Such damage leads to multiple woes later – from poor physical and mental health through to poor educational and work outcomes, risk of teen pregnancy, habitual substance misuse, antisocial behaviour and criminality.
•Only 3% of local areas even have a perinatal mental health strategy.
This 1001 Days All Party Parliamentary Group Report is the culmination of months of Inquiry to explore what affects emotional and social development between conception and the age of 2 years. The Group was led by a panel of eminent experts who took evidence from numerous academics, practitioners and Parliamentarians.