Dedicated mental health services for new, expectant and bereaved mums
The 26 new hubs will bring together maternity services, reproductive health and psychological therapy under one roof as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Around 6,000 women will receive care and treatment for a wide range of mental health issues from post-traumatic stress disorder after giving birth, to others with a severe fear of childbirth.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens says: “The pregnancy and the birth of a new child are a special time for families but if things go wrong, it can have a huge impact on women, their partners and even other children. That is why the NHS is developing maternal mental health services to help them get back on track as part of our Long Term Plan.”
As well as offering psychological therapies for new and expectant mums, the clinics will also provide training for maternity staff and midwives.
Ten sites will be up and running within months with the remainder opening by April 2022. Every area will have one by April 2024 as part of the plan to increase access to psychological support for women before, during and after pregnancy.
It is estimated that it costs the NHS and social care sector £1.2 billion per year where women do not access high-quality perinatal mental health services. Five years ago, 40% of the country had no access to specialist perinatal mental health care. However, specialist community perinatal mental health services are now available in each of the 44 local NHS areas and over 30,000 women were seen in specialist perinatal mental health community services in 2019/20.
The NHS is developing maternal mental health services as part of its Long Term Plan.