Meet Claire: Senior Infant Mental Health Practitioner

As part of our NHS 70 celebrations this week we will be proudly sharing a staff story each day to showcase our exceptional colleagues and the lifetime of care we offer!

Today we are kicking off the celebrations with Claire Wild, Senior Mental Health Practitioner.

Meet Claire Wild. She’s a Senior Infant Mental Health Practitioner based at Parkside Health Centre, although much of her work takes place in the homes of the people she works with.

claire WildWho do you care for?

I work with infants and families from conception to age 2. Some of the work is in direct contact with families and caregivers, providing support and interventions where needed to strengthen relationships. We also do a lot of work with professionals both inside and outside of the Trust like Health Visitors and Midwives, offering case discussions, consultations and training.

Describe what you do.

My role is diverse, rewarding and challenging.  

A lot of the caregivers we work with have had a difficult start to life themselves or have experienced a loss or trauma, which can have an impact upon their relationship with their baby.  Research suggests that if babies have a good start in life emotionally, they are more likely to do better socially, educationally and meet their developmental outcomes. Helping babies feel secure and safe means they are more likely to grow up to be confident children, able to develop healthy relationships with others and themselves.

I provide lots of different types of therapies to families. For example, Watch, Wait and Wonder, this is a child led approach that uses free play to strengthen the child-parent relationship. It helps caregivers to get into the emotional world of their infant. This can be a hard thing to do, especially if you feel depressed or anxious.

The caregiver and child will sit down with a toy box and we work together to watch what the infant does and take time to think about what they are trying to tell us.

How long have you worked for the NHS?

All of my working life!

I qualified as a Mental Health Nurse in 1994, so for about 24 years.  

What do you enjoy most about working for the NHS?

I have enjoyed working in this service the most; I see a lot of positive outcomes. It is hugely rewarding seeing caregivers that have previously struggled, fall in love with their babies, that is the best part of the job.

Describe your proudest moment.

I think my proudest moment was completing my Masters in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I did it whilst working and being a mother to 2 small children. It was a real challenge and there were a number of reasons I could have talked myself out of it, but I finished with a Distinction!

I had lots of supportive people around me including Sue Ranger who is the Infant Mental Health Service Manager. I’ve had a fabulous career and hope to continue to do so. I’m very proud to work for and am a big supporter of the NHS. It’s not an easy place to work but if you're dedicated and passionate it's fantastic environment to work in!