New mothers and mums-to-be to benefit from extra funding for mental health services

New and expectant mothers and those trying to conceive will benefit from a major investment in mental health services.

Around 20 per cent of women experience mental health difficulties while planning  a pregnancy, are pregnant or during the first year following the birth of their baby. This covers a wide range of conditions and if left untreated can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman and her family.

Now £833,000 is to be invested in improving perinatal mental health services across Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Shropshire. It will directly help around 850 mothers by 2021.

The funding will provide greater community services and improve access to existing services for more women.

Alexandra Birch, Programme Lead for the Pan Staffordshire Maternity Transformation Programme said:

“We know that perinatal mental health issues have a huge impact on mothers, their babies and their wider families. The impact is felt not only in the perinatal period, but for years to come.

“This investment is a significant step towards improving equal access to specialist mental health care and will improve the health and wellbeing of the population of Staffordshire and Shropshire.”

“Perinatal mental health is a specialist area of work and we are really pleased to have received this funding to develop and enhance the services caring for these women and their babies.

“Mental health difficulties during pregnancy and the first year after birth are often under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated. Although most pregnancies are not complicated by mental health difficulties, this is not the case for all.

Wendy Hallows, Chair of the Pan Staffordshire Perinatal Mental Health Network said:

“Unfortunately a time that is perceived as being a happy one can result in women experiencing psychological and emotional difficulties. We want to reach these women as quickly as possible so that they can receive high quality specialist care, closer to home when they need it, and go on to enjoy a happy, healthy life with their new baby.”

“For many women and families having a baby is the most precious gift of all, however for some it can be the most difficult time in a women’s life.”

Thomas Evans, Deputy Chair of the Pan Staffordshire Perinatal Mental Health Network added:

“This funding is instrumental in delivering an outstanding service to women and their families across Staffordshire, Shropshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

“It will support the development of new and existing teams which in turn will revolutionise the offer of Perinatal Mental Health Services across a wide geographical area. We are immensely proud to be awarded this money and will ensure that improvements are made that will have a sustainable impact on women and their families.”

The funding will help develop specialist community perinatal mental health teams to offer psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with complex or severe mental health problems. They can also provide pre-conception advice for women with a current or past severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy.

Teams can be made up of doctors, nurses, midwives, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nursery nurses and administrative staff, who all work together to provide a comprehensive service to mums, depending on what their individual needs are.