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May 1, 2018

Bliss calls for better psychological support on neonatal units

During Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week on 1-7 May Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick, called for all parents on neonatal units across the UK to have access to psychological support.

National standards for neonatal care across the UK indicate that all parents should have access to psychological and social support, including a trained counsellor. However, Bliss research shows that no country in the UK is reaching the national standards for psychological support in neonatal units.

Findings from Bliss Baby Reports indicate that 41% of neonatal units in England said that parents had no access to a trained mental health worker and 45% of units in Wales are not able to offer parents access to psychological support of any kind. In Scotland, 12 out of 13 units have access to a trained mental health professional of some kind, however access to these professionals is often inadequate to meet demand, while in Northern Ireland five out of seven neonatal units do not have dedicated access to a mental health professional.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, says: "Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week provides the opportunity for Bliss to renew its call for better psychological support for families on neonatal units across the UK, during what can be an incredibly difficult and distressing time for parents.

"At present, none of the UK nations is reaching the national standard for providing psychological support to parents on units. Bliss is calling for more funding from every UK Government to ensure that mental health support is available to each parent who has a baby in neonatal care."


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