Karen Howell, chief executive of Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, writes for Globe.

LAST week was Mental Health Awareness Week, reminding us all to look after our mental wellbeing and the wellbeing of those close to us.

Anxiety, stress, boredom and loneliness can affect us all whether we're living alone or with others and access to our community health and care services has been a lifeline for many, including the children, young people and families in Wirral and Cheshire East who access our 0-19 Health and Wellbeing services.

Our dedicated staff in these services have continued to work closely with children and families to ensure they have access to support they need during this unusual time.

Our message to families is … "We are still here for you."

Our teams have quickly and safely adapted their services so they can carry on, despite the restrictions of COVID-19.

Since late March, new birth visits and child health assessments have continued to take place with around 1,000 advice calls very week.

Nearly 500 electronic birth packs have also been sent to parents of new-borns giving them access to a wealth of information and support during their early days of parenthood.

Like many services across our Trust, the 0-19 team has also introduced telephone and video consultations which our families have welcomed with open arms.

With the click of a button, parents and carers can have face-to-face conversations with a health visitor, school nurse or practitioner on their iPad, smart phone or laptop.

Using this new way of working we can continue to provide mums with much needed breastfeeding support, as our practitioners are able to observe feeding positions and attachments.

Feedback from our families using video consultations has been really positive.

Parent: "I felt listened to and everything was explained well. If I didn't understand anything she explained it better for me and was very knowledgeable.

"Under the current circumstances she was very professional and I would recommend the service." 

Parent and keyworker: "Thank you for the support you’ve been able to offer.

"It's really helped knowing there are people around to support me and my children." 

"That was fun!" - eight year old following their virtual health assessment.

Support for vulnerable children and their families is available through our safeguarding teams, Family Nurse Partnership and specialist school nurses.

They are making sure families are getting the help and support they need.

Our specialist school nurses have been working with children of keyworkers in schools across Wirral and our teams from Family Nurse Partnership are working with first time young parents with weekly video or phone calls, as well as face-to-face support when necessary.

We've also linked up with Wirral’s Early Years Team to provide families with support and advice via online videos.

These videos have been well received, and feature on the My Child Can Facebook page (@mychildcan).

These connections, be it online or over the phone are so important in staying connected, keeping in touch and seeking support when needed.

So, if you are a parent or carer and need to speak to a member of the 0-19 Health and Wellbeing Service for advice or guidance you can contact them via telephone - 0151 514 0219 (Mon – Fri, 9.00am - 5.00pm, including bank holidays).

You can also access a range of information and support via their Facebook pages @0219HVHub and @MyHealthWirral.

The team post regular videos about mental wellbeing (parents, carers and young people), weaning, sleep and behaviour. Make sure you ‘like’ their Facebook pages to stay up-to-date. You’ll also find a range of informative local and national resources on our website - www.wchc.nhs.uk.

Remember, we are still here for you.