Public Health eNews

January 2017

New help for women suffering from perinatal mental health

A new specialist team to support new mothers and pregnant women with moderate to severe mental health difficulties is being set up in Hertfordshire.

The county’s two NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCG) have been given national NHS funds to develop a specialist service offering pre-pregnancy counselling to women with mental ill health and supporting new mums with conditions like severe postnatal depression.

The new community mental health service will be delivered over the next three years by local mental health services provider, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT).

“Figures suggest that at least 400 women in Hertfordshire have severe mental health needs in the weeks before and after birth, with another 1,375 having mild to moderate needs,” explained Cameron Ward, Herts Valleys CCG Accountable Officer.

“The CCGs are working in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to increase the support for parents-to-be and new parents showing signs of problems like depression or anxiety.”

The service will support mothers who are unwell, their babies and partners, working alongside GPs, obstetricians and gynaecologists, midwives and health visitors already working with women to prevent their condition deteriorating.

Maria Bavetta, from the Maternal Mental Health Alliance Everyone’s Business Campaign, which calls for all women throughout the UK who experience perinatal mental health problems to receive the care they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it, said: “I visited Hertfordshire earlier this year and was so impressed that so many different professionals were determined to make the mental health of new families a priority in the county. A specialist community team will provide women, their partners and families much-needed local accessible services.”

Watch this space for more information about when the team is fully set up and ready to take referrals.

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