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Mental health services for new expectant and bereaved mums

Expectant or bereaved mothers will receive support for mental health problems through new dedicated hubs.

NHS England said the 26 new hubs will bring together maternity services, reproductive health and psychological therapy under one roof.

Health bosses said 6,000 women will receive care and treatment for a wide range of mental health issues from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after giving birth to others with a severe fear of childbirth.

As well as offering psychological therapies for new and expectant mums the clinics will also provide training for maternity staff and midwives.

Ten sites will be up and running within months with the remainder opening by April 2022. Every area will have one by April 2024.

This comes after research by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) revealed women of colour and women from poorer economic backgrounds are more likely to experience mental health problems during and after pregnancy.

Emily Slater, CEO of MMHA, said: ‘The Maternal Mental Health Alliance welcomes this positive step towards achieving ambitions for perinatal mental health laid out in the Long-Term Plan.

‘For the more than one in 10 expectant and new mothers experiencing mental health problems, and the increased numbers as a result of the pandemic, there needs to be a system of care available to support them.

‘These new services will enable more women than ever to access vital perinatal mental health care.

‘The MMHA is keen to see training for all staff who interact with women and their families in the perinatal period, so we also welcome the role these services will play in upskilling the maternity workforce, alongside providing much-needed support.’

It is estimated that it costs the NHS and social care sector £1.2bn per year where women do not access high-quality perinatal mental health services.

Five years ago, 40% of the country had no access to specialist perinatal mental health care. However, specialist community perinatal mental health services are now available in each of the 44 local NHS areas and over 30,000 women were seen in specialist perinatal mental health community services in 2019/20.

Dr Giles Berrisford, NHS England’s national speciality advisor for perinatal mental health, said: ‘We know around one in four women experiences mental health problems in pregnancy and during the 24 months after giving birth, and these maternal mental health services will provide vital support, meeting the specific needs of these women.

‘Their establishment will significantly contribute to the overall commitment of the NHS to enable at least 66,000 women with moderate to severe mental health difficulties related motherhood to access specialist care by 2023/24.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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