More mental health services for new mothers in England

By Julie Griffiths on 08 May 2018 Maternal Mental health Perinatal Mental Health NHS England

NHS England has announced that it will be rolling out the second wave of community perinatal services to 35 new sites across the country.

This means that pregnant women and new mothers experiencing mental health difficulties will be able to access specialist perinatal mental health community services in every part of the country by April 2019.

As part of NHS England’s £365m investment in perinatal mental health services by 2021, this second wave of funding will see £23m go to the 35 sites to ensure improved access to treatment and better outcomes for women and families.

The 35 sites cover 38 sustainability transformation partnerships and 134 clinical commissioning group areas, and four NHS England regions.

Of the 35 sites that have been awarded funding, 28 will receive funding from May 2018 to set up their new or enhanced specialist community perinatal mental health services.

A further seven sites will begin implementation from August 2018.

Specialist community perinatal mental health teams can offer psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with complex or severe mental health problems during the perinatal period.

They can also provide pre-conception advice for women with a current or past severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy.

NHS England’s national mental health director Claire Murdoch said: ‘Mental ill health doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time and it disrupts life not just for mums but the whole family, which is why 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.

‘Thanks to a continuing investment in services and a concerted effort from dedicated staff up and down the country, we are making huge strides forward and sooner rather than later we will turn England’s specialist perinatal mental health map green.’

NHS England is also pressing ahead with plans to open four new eight-bedded mother and baby units throughout 2018-19, which will provide specialist care and support to mothers in parts of the country where access has historically been a problem.