An NHS England pledge of £1 million will ensure that hundreds of thousands of women will have access specialist perinatal mental health community services in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Bedfordshire and Luton.
In 2014 it was estimated that only three per cent of the country had good access to perinatal mental health care. Currently women who experience severe mental health difficulties during and after pregnancy are treated in mother and baby units, however in areas with limited provision new mothers can be separated from their baby whilst being treated in adult inpatient units.
For over 10 years, the Trust has run a family-centred specialist Mother and Baby Unit providing care to women from East London and further afield. The unit works with mothers, infants and families alongside a specialist team of nurses, social therapists, recovery workers, psychologist, parent-infant psychotherapist and art therapist.
The additional funding will support the Trust to extend a range of interventions and specialist teams to the community. More women than ever will have access to evidence based treatments that are closer to home whilst not being separated from their babies at a critical time in their development.
Dr Olivia Protti said
‘Pregnancy and the postnatal period are a unique time in a woman’s life; the new services will allow women to be treated in an environment that is familiar, closer to loved ones and where both their needs and the needs of the baby are met. Mothers and their infants can develop their unique bond, whilst women can get the specialist psychological help they need to recover.'
The new services will enhance capacity, reduce waiting times and broaden provision for women in Luton and Bedfordshire. Working with partners in Primary Care, the new services will support earlier diagnosis and preventative interventions.
The teams will offer a range of psychiatric and psychological assessments for complex or severe mental health problems during the perinatal period. As well as pre-conception advice for women with a current or past severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy.