RCM welcomes more maternal mental health services for new and expectant mums

on 06 April 2021 Maternity Services NHS Funding Funding NHS England maternity saftey Maternal Mental health Perinatal Mental Health Specialist Mental Health Midwives

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed an announcement from NHS England of more maternal mental health services for new and expectant mothers.

The investment is part of the NHS Long Term Plan and will see 26 newly dedicated hubs being set up across England with an ambition of bringing together maternity services, reproductive health and psychological therapy.

The College says the announcement is timely given the increase in the number of mothers experiencing mental health problems since the pandemic began.

Commenting, RCM Executive Director Midwife, Birte Harlev-Lam, said: “The RCM has long been calling for more mental health support for pregnant women and new mothers, so we really welcome this announcement. For too long women with pregnancy related mental health problems have suffered with care and support often resembling a postcode lottery. Women suffered in silence and their problems deteriorated often so badly that they ended up needing care in a mother and baby unit miles away from their homes. It was only when crisis level had been reached that women are treated at these specialists’ units. These new hubs will hopefully address that and will enable women to get the support they need more locally and during their pregnancy."

The RCM says that it is crucial that the mental health care of women is given parity with their physical health during pregnancy and that while there are specialist maternal mental health midwives more are needed to meet the levels of demand.

Birte Harlev-Lam added:

“Providing these services that are right for women, in the right places with trained healthcare professionals which are properly funded will save the NHS money in the long term and more importantly begin to stop the toll that pregnancy related mental ill health exerts on women and their families.”

ENDS

To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].  

Notes to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

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