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Social networking site to help new mums

Health visitors are to help mothers experiencing parenting problems via the largest social networking site on the internet.

The site "netmums" has received £500,000 from the Department for Children, Schools and Families to explore new ways of delivering support services to parents.

Health visitors hope to help up to 50,000 mothers every years with postnatal depression, parenting and relationship issues and alcohol abuse and self harm.

If problems look to be too serious, health visitors will offer one-to-one counselling on a "closed" area of a site and recommend that the mother see a health professional in person.

Unite/CPHVA's Acting Lead Professional Officer Cheryll Adams said: "This is a 'first' for the UK and it is great that the country's largest professional body for health visitors and community nurses is joining forces with one of the country's largest consumer champions for mums.

"In the sophisticated 24/7 internet age, we do need to find innovative ways to communicate with parents and netmums has been a trailblazer in this respect."

Sally Russell, cofounder of netmums added: "Every week we are dealing with a terrifying number of mums that simply aren't receiving the support that they need.

"This grant not only recognises the power of social networking as a means of reaching out to those that need help, it also engages those that have slipped through the bureaucratic net."