NHS launches new service offering new mums access to mental health support closer to home

New specialist mental health services have been rolled out across the country, following a pledge made by health officials in May 2018.

Pregnancy news, 12/04/2019

NHS England has announced that new and expectant mothers across the country can now access specialist mental health care, closer to where they live.

Following a pledge made by health officials in May 2018, perinatal community services have been rolled out to every one of the 44 local NHS areas.

Around 1 in 5 women develop mental health issues, such as stress, low mood and anxiety, during their pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby.

This new mental health care provision will mean that mums and mum-to-be will be able to access better support much closer to home. Longer term, it is hoped that by 2024, an additional 54,000 women each year with moderate to severe mental health issues will get the right care, at the right time, close to home.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:

‘Having a baby can be one of the best moments of your life. But the pressure is huge and new parents, especially those struggling with their mental health, can be left too afraid or isolated to speak up. I don’t want any new or expectant mother to be left to suffer in silence. I’m determined to ensure that all women can access specialist mental health care, no matter where they live.’

Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for NHS England, said:

‘The NHS will also be offering tailored support to dads and partners, and extending care to cover the first two years of a child’s life.’

This new service will include specialist perinatal mental health teams which can offer dedicated psychiatric care for women with mental health concerns during pregnancy and early parenthood. They can also advise and support women with current or prior severe mental illness before they get pregnant.

Anna Nella, Tommy's midwife, said:

'Although it’s normal to have periods of worry and stress when you’re pregnant, some women have feelings that don’t go away, and this can be a sign that they need additional support. We welcome the provision of specialist perinatal mental health services that women can access closer to home. No women should have to suffer in silence, and this early intervention, help and support will reduce the suffering that many women currently experience.’ 

Find out more about getting help and support with mental health.

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