"We are absolutely committed to driving forward improvements in care and ensuring this important area of mental health continues to get the attention it deserves."
Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for NHS England
By April next year NHS England want to make sure that new and expectant mums in every part of the country will have access to specialist perinatal mental health services.
They have committed to spending £23 million in unrepresented parts of the country, after a 2014 report estimated that only three per cent of the UK had sufficient access to maternal mental health care.
The investment and transformation is set to be widespread, allowing at least 30,000 more women access to treatment in their community when they need it.
"We welcome the provision of specialist perinatal mental health services that all women can access in the UK. Early intervention and help and support will reduce the suffering that many women experience. A dynamic team approach means we can continue to collectively break the stigma of mental health and aid recovery for happier families."
Anna, Tommy's midwife
Specialist perinatal mental health teams can offer dedicated psychiatric care for women with serious and complex mental health concerns during pregnancy and early parenthood. They can also advise women with current or prior severe mental illness before they get pregnant.
These multidisciplinary healthcare teams, comprised of doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, and more, should work collaboratively to provide an all-inclusive service to mums, and cater for their individual needs.
"Perinatal mental health problems affect around 20% of pregnant women and new mums. Without understanding, support, and treatment these mental illnesses have a devastating impact on these women and on their partners and families. But with treatment and support, they can get better. Tommy’s aims to educate women on mental wellbeing before, during and after pregnancy and empower them to speak up and seek help. However, the healthcare system needs to be ready for them. We hope these plans will deliver the much-needed perinatal support in the right place at the right time."
Jane Brewin, Tommy’s CEO